Adaptive non-conform behaviour in accident investigations in the road based heavy goods transport sector

Christian Henrik Alexander Kuran, Sharon Newnam, Vanessa Beanland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents findings from a study of 29 accident investigations in the heavy goods transportation sector in Norway. The investigations are performed by the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA). The NSIA has extensive multi-modal experience with accident investigation studying the holistic systems involved. Their approach is non-blame, in which the major goal is to provide information that triggers the involved actors’ learning. It is reasonable to assume that the NSIA will challenge system characteristics at the sharp end, close to the accident site, as well as characteristics towards the blunt end involving planning, managing and regulatory enterprises. The term adaptive non-conform behaviour cuts across all levels in the system and covers the outright violation of safety-related rules and regulations and activities that deviate from established good praxis. Non-conform behaviour can include strategic adaptations to external and internal socioeconomic pressures. Actors in the industry claim non-conform behaviour is a prominent characteristic of the day-to-day activities. Non-conformity with safety-related rules and regulations is currently common in the transport industry as a reaction to increased international competition. It can be regarded as an adaption to the local business environment. Thus, we subsequently claim that the NSIA investigations should reflect this context in order to reveal important risk influencing factors. NSIA rarely reflects non-conform behaviour in investigations. When non-conform behaviour is touched upon, it is not described as adaptations and established praxis in the industry. Adaptive non-conform behaviour seems not to be a systemic problem based on the aggregated analysis of the NSIA-investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105539
Number of pages11
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Accident Investigation
  • Accimap
  • Non-conform Behaviour
  • Systems theory

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