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Safety 2018, 4(4), 46;

Accident Report Interpretation

School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Griffith University, Nathan 4111, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 1 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety and Complexity)
PDF [2147 KB, uploaded 18 October 2018]


The language and approach we use to describe the past can have a strong influence on the audience’s interpretation of our story. In our experiment, we explore, using 3 different conditions, how the framing, language and style of an accident report can affect the audience’s proposed solutions to manage the problems found. We find that the approach used to create an accident report can have a powerful influence on the audience’s decision making. Whether we are describing an accident in a linear manner, using a systems approach, or we are accepting of multiple stories which are not linear or coherent, the methods we use to capture and communicate the story have a profound impact on the actions decided upon by the reader. View Full-Text
Keywords: accident investigation; punishment; language; multiple stories; human error; systems thinking; restorative justice accident investigation; punishment; language; multiple stories; human error; systems thinking; restorative justice

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Heraghty, D.; Dekker, S.; Rae, A. Accident Report Interpretation. Safety 2018, 4, 46.

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