Inderscience Publishers

Major accidents – dealing with the consequences

The history of accident investigation in the transport sector is outlined briefly, focusing on the development of the precautionary principle and new safety design principles. The distinction between juridical inquiries and accident investigation is highlighted, with the aviation sector as example. The main part concerns several major accidents in The Netherlands and Scandinavia that have occurred in the public sector, aviation, maritime shipping and railways, and the role and performance of rescue and emergency organisations. Such an expansion of scope is in line with international developments in Europe and elsewhere, with the concept of independent accident investigations as 'A Citizen's Right and Society's Duty'. Finally, the article indicates lessons learnt from these accidents, and extrapolates some of the findings towards a systems level of performance with respect to rescue and emergency management. The distinctive features characterising victims' organisations today are described.

Keywords: accident investigation, rescue organisations, victim organisations, disaster, self-help groups, emergency management, major accidents, transport

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