Transcript of the video
The phone rings in the middle of the night. There's been an accident, and somewhere in Canada, the men and women who work at the Transportation Safety Board prepare to go to work.
At the TSB, our mandate is to advance transportation safety by conducting independent investigations into selected transportation occurrences, whether marine, pipeline, rail, or aviation. That means finding out what happened, why it happened, and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again. With eight regional offices—in addition to our headquarters and engineering laboratory in the national capital region—we can deploy to any corner of Canada, and beyond our borders when required.
An investigation's initial days are busy with what's known as the “field phase.” We arrive at the accident site and begin to document what we find: the environment, the wreckage … anything relevant to the investigation. We conduct interviews with witnesses, survivors, and company representatives, as well as gather maintenance and training records, and weather information. If there's a voice or data recorder, we'll take it with us, or download the information it contains for further study.
The next steps are all about the science. Our experts disassemble engines, brakes, rotors, and instrumentation. If it moves, whirs or hums, we'll look inside to see what role it may have played. Materials analysis, photogrammetry, a digital x-ray, and 3-D laser scanning … we have some sophisticated equipment at our disposal.
And then there's the human element. What did the crew see? What about the regulations, the operational environment, or organizational factors including safety management? No one ever sets out to have an accident, so how exactly did events unfold? In other words, if we can understand the factors underlying the decisions that were made, we may be able to gain valuable insight.
The last step is to write a report that states the facts, explains our analysis, and communicates our findings to Canadians. If risks continue to exist, we point them out, and when strong safety action is required, we make compelling arguments for change—until all safety deficiencies are addressed. That said, we don't always wait until the conclusion of an investigation to communicate. If we identify pressing safety issues we immediately inform the regulator and industry.
Since the TSB was created in 1990, the men and women who work here have been a dedicated group, passionate about their work. Whether they're investigators, laboratory engineers or scientists, communications specialists, IT and human resources experts, or finance and administrative support, they all share a common mission: making Canada safer. And so as the transportation industry and the landscape continue to evolve, we'll keep pushing for the changes that need to be made. That's our commitment—to Canada and to the world.
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