Episode Summary

The paper we are discussing today is about the language used in incident reports and whether it influences the recommendations made based on these reports. We run through the findings in this paper which include the process of writing three different reports on the same incident – each including all the same facts but just written with a different perspective and focus.

Episode Notes

This paper reveals some really interesting findings and it would be valuable for companies to take notice and possibly change the way they implement incident report recommendations.


  • Introduction to the paper
  • The general process of an investigation
  • The Hypothesis
  • The differences between the reports and their language
  • The results of the three reports
  • Differences in the recommendations on each of the reports
  • The different ways of interpreting the results
  • Practical Takeaways
  • Not sharing lessons learned from incidents – let others learn it for themselves by sharing the report.
  • Summary and answer to the question


“All of the information in every report is factual, all of the information is about the same real incident that happened.” Drew Rae

“These are plausibly three different reports that are written for that same incident but they’re in very different styles, they highlight different facts and they emphasize different things.” Drew Rae

“Incident reports could be doing so much more for us in terms of broader safety in the organization.” David Provan

“From the same basic facts, what you select to highlight in the report and what story you use to tell seems to be leading us toward a particular recommendation.” – Drew Rae


Griffith University Safety Science Innovation Lab


Accident Report Interpretation Paper

Episode 18 – Do Powerpoint Slides count as a safety hazard?