Event Learning Assessment


Most organisations encounter the challenge of determining what priority to give their incident investigations. Using injury outcomes or potential severity alone as a guide for where to spend investigation resources does not optimise learning. This resource drain impacts an organisation’s ability to invest in proactive safety management. When investigation decisions are deferred to data such as injury classifications, there is pressure to manipulate the data and downgrade the incident/injury.

The Event Learning Assessment

The Event Learning Assessment (ELA) offers a strategic pathway for deciding what to investigate and how deep that investigation should be. It helps organisations focus their resources on investigating events with the highest potential for learning.

Defining the opportunity for organisational learning

Defining organisational learning requires reflection on the context of the work and the event itself. Stakeholder conversations should discuss factors such as:

  • How changes to the task or work can influence understanding and lead to unexpected outcomes
  • The level of understanding of how multiple controls for a task interact and contribute to an event
  • How multiple stakeholders who may be involved in an event can provide insights into communication, planning and integration
  • How can others outside the team benefit from learning about this event? This involves considering the event’s relevance to the current goals of specific stakeholders or the organisation


Who gets to draw the line?

Identifying who has the authority to draw the line is as influential as the criteria guiding investigative decisions.

A small group of different stakeholders best undertakes the reflection, each offering unique perspectives mediated by an independent (of the work) facilitator. For instance, a safety advisor facilitates a discussion with the work area manager, a supervisor, and a worker.

Learn more about the Event Learning Assessment

To learn more about the Event Learning Assessment read the complete White Paper ‘Event Learning Assessment: Being Smart about What to Investigate’ by Mark Alston and Jop Havinga, PhD.
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