Investigations masterclass


Investigations masterclass

Posted on 01 March 2021

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending an ‘Investigations Masterclass’ organised by the London Met Branch of IOSH. As a specialist recruiter working across the Health & Safety industry I regularly work on positions where the requirements are for candidates to have experience of ‘investigating accident and incidents’ (almost every day!).

My understanding of what this actually means in practice, has until now always been somewhat ‘high level’, that was until Tuesday when I got to understand the reality of the process.

Nick Patience kicked off the day with an overview of the speakers and workshops that we would attend through the day, with 20 plus years experience as an Inspector for the HSE there will be few in the industry as qualified as Nick to lead a session like this.

We split into groups to attend the following Workshops – a great idea as the smaller group size made each session more interactive with free flowing questions and answers throughout.

Being interviewed by the HSE and Police

Claire Morrisey of Shoesmith’s gave an invaluable session of what to expect if the worst happens (a serious accident or fatality) in your workplace and you need to be interviewed by the HSE or Police. I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t have some trepidation ahead of an interview like this. The session explained the process and provided some excellent hints and tips. I think everyone left the room feeling more equipped than when they entered. A key takeaway, was ‘Legal Privilege’ and how this can assist in any internal investigations you carry out.

Risk assessment revision

Nick outlined that this wasn’t a session on how to write a risk assessment, but through an interactive workshop served a great revision of the importance of creating risk assessments that are relevant and therefore fit for purpose. This is critical as one of the first requests an HSE Inspector will have when investigating an incident is to see a copy of the Risk Assessment associated with that activity.

How to interview using conversation management

Mike Neuman (an expert in investigative training) had the challenge of giving us a 30min overview of what would normally be in a two day course on ‘conversation management’. One of the key takeaways for me was the importance of building ‘rapport’ with the interviewee, the importance of that initial rapport building at the beginning of any interview can be vital to gaining the most information. The use and types of questions and language you use could be applied to situations across all areas of business. It made me stop and think about my own interview structure and questions in the world of recruitment. I left wanting Mike to ‘Tell me more about that!’

The Police and Health & Safety Investigation

The final presentation was from Martin Head a Detective Sergeant from Homicide Command for the Met Police, I think everyone in the room felt privileged to hear from a senior ranking member of the Met Police who is dealing with the most serious of incidents and crimes. To understand the work load of London’s Homicide team was eye opening to say the least and attendees also gained a deeper understanding of the processes and latest technology used by the Met Police to investigate murder and also fatalities in the workplace.

Rhaynukaa Soni chaired a lively panel Q&A followed to round of the afternoon. I think all attendees would agree with me, that it was an excellent, informative and thought-provoking event.

Thanks to Rhaynukaa Soni, Nick Patience, the speakers and all of the London Met Branch committee for arranging and running the event.

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