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Alexander Cedergren


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Learning from accident investigations – A cross-country comparison


  • Alexander Cedergren
  • Kurt Petersen

Summary, in English

This paper compares all accident investigation reports covering railway accidents issued by the national investigation boards in Sweden, Norway and Denmark during a two-year period (2008-2009). By using content analysis, units of text describing attributed causes have been selected and categorized as belonging to one of three hierarchical levels; the micro level (technical malfunctioning and human actions), meso level (organizational actions and factors in the physical environment), and

macro level (inter-organizational and regulatory factors). In addition, attributed causes on each level have been further categorized as belonging to different ‘types’ of causes. In a similar manner the recommendations described in all studied reports have been divided into different classes. The results show that the majority of attributed causes in all three countries belong to the micro level, and about

half of all recommendations aim at human factors aspects. Furthermore, the diversity in different ‘types’ of causes differs between the countries. The analysis has been followed up by interviews with

the investigation boards. Based on these interviews, it can be concluded that the structure, mandate and traditions of the investigation boards influences the outcome of the investigations in such way that a broader mandate gives rise to a higher potential for accidents to be examined from multiple perspectives.


  • Avdelningen för Brandteknik
  • Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM)
  • Avdelningen för Riskhantering och Samhällssäkerhet






Proceedings 10th International Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management Conference.




  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Civil Engineering
  • Building Technologies


  • Accident investigations
  • Investigation boards
  • Learning

Conference name

The 10th International Probabilistic Safety Assessment & Management Conference (PSAM)

Conference date

2010-06-07 - 2010-06-11

Conference place

Seattle, United States