Investigator training at the TSB
2 September 2015
Posted by: Susan Greene
Joining the TSB was one of the best career decisions I ever made! I joined the TSB as the Manager, Multimodal Training and Standards in January 2011. At the time, I was looking for new challenges and that's exactly what I found. I was looking for a place where I could bring my past experience and knowledge from the airline industry and regulations and apply it in a new context. The TSB is a small organization with a large mandate…advancing transportation safety in Canada. One of my division's responsibilities is to find the common elements of training for investigators who work in the operational branches: Air, Marine, Rail, Pipeline and Operational Services.
When an investigator joins the TSB, they, too, bring with them previous life and work experiences as well as a vast knowledge in their specialty area. One of the responsibilities of the Multimodal Training and Standards division is to work with investigators to provide context to the TSB environment and investigation protocols. As our investigators are physically located from coast to coast and come from four different modes of transportation (air, marine, rail and pipeline), it is important that we have a training curriculum that will aid in a consistent application of these protocols and yet remain flexible to accommodate the varying work schedules and learning styles.
Investigators perform research in a variety of locations under varying conditions, gather and analyze information, identify risks and prepare reports that are read by the public and transportation experts. For this reason, our training curriculum includes courses on subjects such as, investigation methodology, investigative interviewing, human and organizational factors, photography, failure analysis, and media relations. As you can imagine, this type of training cannot be completed quickly and, in fact, to become a fully trained investigator, it could take on average two years to complete all courses, gain the necessary experience and demonstrate independent decision making as a lead investigator. Fortunately, we have experienced investigators who mentor and guide new investigators along the way.
The training curriculum is always evolving as we try to keep up with technology, reach the various demographics within the organization and keep investigators engaged. Our aim is to offer a variety of training methods to our investigators which include eLearning, classroom style learning, videoconferencing, practical hands-on exercises and on-the-job training, to name a few.
Most of our courses are facilitated by TSB employees while outside instructors are brought in whenever we need to supplement our expertise. For example, our course on Managing Critical Incident Stress is facilitated by a mental health professional in collaboration with Health Canada. It is important that we choose the right subject matter experts to instruct our courses and this is particularly important for our occupational health and safety courses which are largely provided by third party organizations.
As the mandate of the TSB is to advance transportation safety, two of our courses are open to other government employees, industry and those from the transportation community who are involved in investigations. Our goal is to improve the industry practice of investigation techniques and to enhance safety in all modes of transportation.
If you are seeking guidance on the TSB's Integrated Safety Investigation Methodology or Investigating Human and Organizational Factors, we may have a seat for you on a future offering! It has been a busy four years since joining the TSB, and the challenges I face today in this position are related primarily to workload and deadlines…as with any job. The best part about working here is the people and their desire to always improve, work more efficiently and to learn from each other.
Susan Greene has been the Manager, Multimodal Training and Standards since January 2011. Prior to joining the TSB, Susan worked for Transport Canada for almost 16 years where she held various positions including Civil Aviation Safety Inspector and Chief, Cabin Safety Standards. Susan grew up with a father who worked for an airline and so as soon as she graduated from university, she started her career in transportation with a commuter airline in the Maritimes. Her free time is spent relaxing with family and friends with many trips back home to Nova Scotia.
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