View Training Dates for Your City

Filter By

  • No scheduled courses - please call us to discuss your requirements

Good question. Let’s back up a bit so we can put it all in context. We have recently launched our new Strategic Incident Analysis (SIA) training here at AlertForce. SIA is a set of strategies for figuring out why a incident occurred, how to prevent it from happening again and how to use the lessons learned to continually improve workplace safety and mitigate risk in the future. Developed in consultation with experts in the field of incident root cause analysis and risk mitigation, our SIA course takes the principles of Incident Cause Analysis Method (ICAM) and delivers them in a fresh new, accessible and practical framework.

One of the key principles of ICAM (ICAM training) is the Swiss Cheese Model developed by Professor James T. Reason. It’s got nothing to do with it being anyone’s favourite sandwich filling and everything to do with understanding how accident causation works in the context of risk management. This is – briefly – how it works:

  • Reason compares human systems to layers of swiss cheese
  • Each layer is a layer of defence against mistakes and failures
  • There are “holes” in each layer because no system is perfect, and humans are fallible, but if something gets through, it usually gets stopped by another layer of defence
  • Things go wrong when failures are able to get through every layer i.e. where the holes in each slice of Swiss cheese line up
  • This is what leads to workplace accidents and incidents

Ideally, when it comes to workplace safety, we want all our systems or layer of defence to be intact. In reality, however, all systems have weaknesses – the “holes” in the cheese. We put into place extra layers around those weaknesses but occasionally circumstances collide in such a way that all the weaknesses coincide and the whole defence structure is breached. When the holes momentarily align, the circumstances are in place for what Reason calls “a trajectory of accident opportunity.”

These failures in the defence layers arise from a combination of two factors:

  • Active failures
  • Latent conditions

Active failures are the unsafe acts of people connected to the system e.g. slips and fumbles, mistakes and lapses, violations of codes or procedures.

Latent conditions arise from flaws or frailties in the wider system e.g. decisions made by management or designers, problems within workplace culture, outdated policies and procedures. They are elements that can remain dormant in the system for a long time before coming to light when an incident occurs. Here’s an example:

  • A dump truck reverses into some scaffolding on a construction site causing damage to the vehicle and the structure and injuring a worker on the ground.
  • The active failure here is most likely the driver’s failure to adequately control the truck – perhaps the driver didn’t use a warning device, didn’t check the area before moving, and/or didn’t adequately communicate with workers and traffic control staff on the site.
  • Upon further investigation it is found that the driver was insufficiently trained to operate that kind of heavy vehicle but was under pressure from supervisors to get the job done by a certain time. The latent failure here then is management’s focus on productivity at the expense of training and safety and the workplace culture that meant the employee did not feel empowered to question the direction they were given.
  • The outcome could be a review of training standards, with more rigorous training put in place, and the implementation of updated safety protocols to ensure inexperienced workers are not charged with jobs they are not qualified to do.

This is a very simple example but one than illustrates the layers of responsibility involved and the importance of looking beyond the “who’s fault was that?” question and examining more deeply the larger factors at play in any accident. Addressing those latent conditions – we might think of them as the holes in the cheese that have been there so long we barely even register them anymore – is central to the continual improvement of safety in any workplace.

Once failures in the various layers of defence have been analysed and dealt with, your Swiss cheese will start looking a bit more like a block of good, solid parmesan.

Latest OHS news

Are You Following Forklift Safety Protocols? Common Forklift Safety Hazards to Avoid

Workplace hazards involving forklifts can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities if not properly addressed. It’s crucial for all forklift operators to receive thorough training to ensure t...

Read more

Where Can You Find Working at Heights Permit?

You may be wondering where to find accurate and reliable information on working at heights permits. Understanding the Australian regulations and requirements for working at heights is crucial to...

Read more

10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Silica Training

Silica, or silicon dioxide, is a mineral that occurs naturally and is widely distributed. It forms the main component of rocks and soils. Silicon dioxide is available in crystalline and non-c...

Read more

Top Manual Handling Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide

Considering the recent rise in workplace injuries due to improper manual handling methods, understanding proper manual handling techniques has never been more important. It doesn't matter if you...

Read more


“In over 20 years of training, this was one of the best courses I’ve ever attended.”

Queensland Rail

“Great! The instructor made it interesting and enjoyable”

Leighton Contractors

” We heard that AlertForce delivers one of the best courses around so the boss decided to send me to Australia from New Zealand.”

Participant Public Course

“I liked the trainer’s positive outlook and uplifting approach towards completing the long day.”


“Very competent training course. Trainer was very knowledgeable on subject.”


“AlertForce provided an excellent trainer,  knowledgeable on the topic and allowed for active questioning.”


“Informative and concise training delivered at the right pace.”

“The Trainer was very engaging”

Fair Work Commission

“Interesting, informative, relevant.”

Airservices Australia

Payments & Security

Awards & Accreditations

Make an Enquiry:

Google Rating
Total Rating 4.5 out of 5 based on 707 reviews