Accident Investigation (Advanced Level)


This four-day course will provide intense instruction on accidents investigations, including:

  • Due Diligence: What is the Law?  
  • Exploring Accident Theory
  • Investigation Methodology
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Role of the OHS Regulator during an Investigation
  • Scene Protection and Examination
  • Scene Photographs and Sketch
  • Note-taking
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Obtaining Witness Statements
  • Report Writing
  • Impact of a Workplace Accident

Participants gain the necessary background, understanding and innovative methods required to conduct a thorough and effective accident investigation.

To successfully complete this course, participants will be required to pass three tests, and complete a mock investigation. Some home study will be required.

Special feature: mock investigation

This four-day course will provide students with the proper investigative tools to allow them to conduct a thorough investigation of a workplace incident or accident.

On the last day of the course, students will attend a work-site and conduct a mock accident investigation that will test their knowledge and skills, as well as challenge their ability to respond under pressure, all of which are essential elements of any accident investigation.

The mock accident investigation will form the basis for the final exam and will represent 60% of the final grade. Students will be required to complete their investigation and prepare a thorough report for submission to the instructor by a specified deadline.

NOTE: Safety footwear, safety vests, safety glasses and hard-hats are required for the mock accident investigation on Day 4. Students must ensure that they are appropriately dressed for the season as the accident may be outdoors.

Benefits to participants

  • Identify accident and incident causation factors
  • Hazard identification
  • Help to prevent recurrence – cost savings (human and financial)
  • Help to establish and maintain regulatory due diligence
  • Ensure a trained and prepared workforce
  • Help to reduce high costs of injuries and litigation
  • Fulfill legal (regulatory) requirements


Day 1 - registration/check-in will start at 8:00 a.m. with sessions to begin at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:30 p.m. Days 2-4 will commence at 8:30 a.m. and adjourn at 4:30 p.m. There will be a 15 minute mid-morning and afternoon break. A light lunch is included.

Program outline

Lead Instructor: Vince P. Garnier

Day 1


Registration and Introduction


Due Diligence: What is the law?

Guest Instructor:  Brad Proctor, Senior Partner, McInnes Cooper Law Firm
What is OHS “Due Diligence” relative to workplace health and safety
Examples of effective and ineffective Due Diligence defense
Why do most OHS court cases result in a conviction?
What does the law require? Relevant case law discussion
Roles of the court, crown and defense counsel
What’s in the courts these days: examination of current court decisions
Charter provision: Rights against unreasonable search and seizure; self-crimination


Exploring Accident Theory

Why do accidents happen
What is the difference, if any, between an “Incident” and an “Accident”
What are Hazards and Risks (examples)?
Unsafe Acts v. Unsafe Conditions: Avoiding the “Blame Game”
Review pre-course assignment


Lunch (provided in the classroom)


Investigation Methodology 
Who should investigate an accident and why
Impartiality of workplace investigation team members
Investigation Steps: Look. Listen and Learn, and Learn to Look and Listen More
Collecting Facts and Evidence
Analyzing the Facts and Evidence
Role of the JOHSC
Authority and Limitations of the JOHS Committee/H&S Representative
Understand how to become an “investigator”


Root Cause Analysis
What is the “Root Cause” and why is it important
Basic v. Root Cause: Getting from “effect” to “cause”
What questions to ask to confirm “Root Cause”
From Root Cause to Prevention
Understanding “Root Cause” from a practical perspective



Day 2


Forensic Interviewing Techniques

Instructor: Mark Hartlen, Polygraph Examiner and Forensic Interviewing Expert
Interview Preparation
Principles of Effective Interviewing
What is an “Interview”
Who conducts the interview
Number of interviewers
Where to conduct an interview
Setting up the interview
Building Rapport with the witness
Critical Incident Stress Considerations of Witness
Beginning, Body and End of an Interview
“What” questions should be asked and “How”
Tips to prompt memory recall
Body Language
Intimidation Factors
Why should the witnesses be separated
Confidentiality of information learned
Potential (legal) implications of interviewing (reacting to inculpatory and exculpatory remarks)
Examples of “Good” and “Bad” interviews
Group Exercise (Note-taking and Interviews)  


Lunch (provided in the classroom)


Obtaining Witness Statements
Forms and Format
Inculpatory and Exculpatory statements
Pure Version Statements
Follow-up questions
Examples of "Good" and "Bad" witness statements
Group Exercise (Obtaining Statements)


Impact of a Workplace Accident (Guest Speaker TBC)



Day 3



Role of the OHS Regulator during an Investigation
Authority, Powers and Limitations
Anticipating and understanding the actions of the Regulator
What to do if charges are laid by the Regulator
What should you do when presented with a search warrant
Options when the OHS Regulator issues a legal “Caution” and Right to Retain and Instruct Counsel


Scene Protection and Examination
Priorities (Protection of Persons and Equipment)
Considerations when at a scene
How to secure a scene properly and understanding the importance


Scene Photographs and Sketch 
Why obtain photos and a sketch
Equipment kit
How to properly take scene photos
What is a sketch and how is it useful to an investigation
Lighting considerations and depth perception
Proper use of video
Examples of "Good" and "Bad" scene photos


Lunch (provided in the classroom)


Importance of note-taking v. reliance on memory
Where to record notes
When to take notes
How to take proper notes
What should be recorded in your notes
What to do with the notes
Preserving the notes
Examples of “Good” and “Bad” notes


Report Writing
Forms and Format
Creating an Impression: From Presentation to Professionalism
Effective Writing Skills
The “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of effective report writing


Mock Accident Review and Adjournment

Day 4


Mock Accident Investigation
Students will respond to a workplace accident and conduct a thorough investigation utilizing the knowledge and skills learned in the program.
Students will prepare and submit a comprehensive investigation report to be used by them as a template when returning to their respective workplace. Debrief to follow.


Presentation of Course Certificates

Note: This course is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of the participants


Vince P. Garnier, CD, MPA, established Safety P.A.T.H. OHS Education and Consulting Inc. in 2008. With more than 34 years combined experience in law enforcement and Occupational Health and Safety public policy and regulatory enforcement, Vince always ensures that clients’ expectations are exceeded.  With extensive experience as a criminal investigator, an OHS regulatory director in a Canadian government jurisdiction and a university OHS instructor, Vince understands the appropriate balance workplace safety and business productivity and sustainability.

Declared an expert by the Government of Canada, Vince was invited, on behalf of Canada, to deliver keynote addresses on PHS Public Policy in South America to senior government officials from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Columbia. And, with this experience delivering advanced accident investigation techniques in Canada and the Caribbean to employers, labour and government officials, Vince is well positioned to deliver advanced-level OHS Accident Investigation Training programs at a university level. He has been a proud partner with Dalhousie University since 2008.

In 2015, Vince was selected as a member of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the body that represents Canada’s interests in the development of the first international OHS Management Standard produced by the International Organization of Standards (ISO).

An experienced, dynamic and passionate speaker, Vince has delivered hundreds of motivational speeches, keynote addresses and presentations to most industry sectors, as well as to thousands of clients and stakeholders on occupational health and safety related topics. Vince has a Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA) with a major in management. He is also a graduate of Strategic Management studies at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., USA.