Course Title: Accident Investigation Fundamentals

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Accident Investigation Fundamentals

Credit Points: 12.00

Flexible Terms

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


PGRDFx2019 (AT_N)


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


PGRDFlex21 (GC21)

Course Coordinator: Jose Silva

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 8019

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: B057-03-029

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Enforced Pre-requisites: Nil
Enforced Co-requisites: Nil
Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities: It is expected students enrolled in this course have completed or are enrolled in the Investigation Readiness course.

Course Description

Through this course, you will develop and establish relevant competencies to enable you to initiate an accident investigation process as a Transport Safety Investigator (TSI). The course will have a particular emphasis on fundamentals aspects necessary to carry out an investigation at the accident site. The course covers the main transport modes by exposing you to specialised knowledge on aviation, rail and marine accident investigation principles.

You will learn to be prepared to initiate an investigation to an accident, to conduct an initial assessment on site, to control site integrity to preserve evidence, to examine the scene, to collect evidence and to formulate preliminary hypothesis on the contributory factors to the accident

You will gain the knowledge and skills to recognise potential health and safety risks and to take action to eliminate or control those risks at accident sites.

The course also includes a specialised module on forensic photography, where you will learn basic photographic techniques to enable you to collect photographic evidence at the accident site.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for Graduate Certificate in Transport Safety Investigation

1. Needs, Context and Systems

  • Describe, investigate and analyse complex systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)
  • Exposit legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental interests, values, requirements and expectations of key stakeholders
  • Identify and assess risks (including OH&S) as well as the economic, social and environmental impacts of industry activities

2. Problem Solving and Design

  • Anticipate the consequences of intended action or inaction and understand how the consequences are managed collectively by your organisation, project or team

3. Analysis

  • Apply underpinning natural, physical and applied sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer and information sciences.

4. Professional Practice

  • Initiate, plan, lead or manage industry activities
  • Understand the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary industry practice in the specific discipline
  • Demonstrate effective team membership and team leadership
  • Communicate in a variety of different ways to collaborate with other people, including accurate listening, reading and comprehension, based on dialogue when appropriate, taking into account the knowledge, expectations, requirements, interests, terminology and language of the intended audience
  • Display a personal sense of responsibility for your work
  • Demonstrate orderly management of self, and professional conduct.

On completion of this course you should be able to:

1. Apply mode-specific knowledge (aviation, marine, rail) to respective accident sites
2. Initiate, plan and implement the application of the on-site investigation process;
3. Evaluate and apply investigation principles and techniques applicable to the examination of physical evidence, including the precautions necessary when differentiating between primary ‘causal’ evidence, and secondary ‘resultant’ evidence;
4. Implement techniques to preserve and collect evidence at the accident site (e.g., photography, maps/diagrams, witnesses);
5. Formulate preliminary hypotheses to identify contributory factors to the accident (including the safety benefit) based on evidence collected on-site.

Overview of Learning Activities

The primary learning mode will be face-to-face lectures, supported by in-class activities, assignments, and progressive assessment (e.g., quizzes/tests). As a complementary form of acquisition of knowledge in the different topics, students will be exposed to practical activities replicating real industry scenarios by resorting to selected case-studies and/or techniques/procedures identical to those used in a real working context.

Some topics will require students to review the course material prior to the lecture, then allowing more time for group discussions, presentations and analysis of selected cases.

Course notes and other supporting material will be provided on the course Learning Management System, which is accessed through myRMIT. This can include lecture material, tutorials and references.

This course includes a Work Integrated Learning experience in which your knowledge and skills will be applied and assessed in a real or simulated workplace context and where feedback from industry and/or community is integral to your experience. Examples include:

  • industry presentations and panels
  • simulations and role plays using industry case studies and processes

Overview of Learning Resources

All course-related resources will be provided on the Learning Management System (LMS), which is accessed through myRMIT.. These will include course notes, and other learning materials generated by the lecturer(s), references, and approved links to useful material on external web-sites. The intent is to support flexible and student-directed learning as much as possible. Whilst the primary teaching method is through face-to-face lectures, where possible, all course materials (inclusive of lecture slides, lecture recordings (when available), case studies, tutorials, assignments, related readings and some assessment items) will be made available to students via the course LMS.

There are no prescribed texts for this subject due to its broad and multi-disciplinary nature. Links to online articles, e-Reserve or eBooks will be provided via the LMS.

Overview of Assessment

X  This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Leaning & Teaching).

Assessment tasks


Assessment Task 1: Quiz #1 (in-class)

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLO 1

Assessment Task 2: Quiz #2 (in-class)

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports CLO 1

Assessment Task 3: Quiz #3 (in-class)

Weighting 30%

This assessment task supports CLO 2, 3, 4


Assessment Task 4: Assignment with report submission

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


All assignments must be submitted online via the myRMIT Studies Canvas/Turnitin portal by the due date/time. No hard copies or emailed copies of assignments will be accepted. Late submissions are penalised at the rate of 10% calendar per day overdue.

Feedback will be delivered by speed grader through the LMS or delivered directly. Group feedback will be posted on the LMS.