Terminology used in ATSB safety investigation reports

continuingOccurrence: accident or incident.

Safety factor: an event or condition that increases safety risk. In other words, it is something that, if it occurred in the future, would increase the likelihood of an occurrence, and/or the severity of the adverse consequences associated with an occurrence. Safety factors include the occurrence events (e.g. engine failure, signal passed at danger, grounding), individual actions (e.g. errors and violations), local conditions, current risk controls and organisational influences.

Contributing factor: a safety factor that, had it not occurred or existed at the time of an occurrence, then either:
a) the occurrence would probably not have occurred; or
b) the adverse consequences associated with the occurrence would probably not have occurred or have been as serious, or
c) another contributing safety factor would probably not have occurred or existed.

Other factors that increase risk: a safety factor identified during an occurrence investigation which did not meet the definition of contributing safety factor but was still considered to be important to communicate in an investigation report in the interests of improved transport safety.

Other finding: any finding, other than that associated with safety factors, considered important to include in an investigation report. Such findings may resolve ambiguity or controversy, describe possible scenarios or safety factors when firm safety factor findings were not able to be made, or note events or conditions which ‘saved the day’ or played an important role in reducing the risk associated with an occurrence.

Safety issue: a safety factor that:
a) can reasonably be regarded as having the potential to adversely affect the safety of future operations, and
b) is a characteristic of an organisation or a system, rather than a characteristic of a specific individual, or characteristic of an operational environment at a specific point in time.

Safety action: the steps taken or proposed to be taken by a person, organisation or agency in response to a safety issue.

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