In accident investigation, tree analysis refers to an investigation technique in which investigators deductively analyze environmental, human, or equipment systems to identify paths to success or failure by using a graphic presentation of information (Oakley, 2003). Analytic trees and fault trees are the common techniques that companies use for successful investigation of accidents. Companies use fault trees to show the accident’s actual events. On the other hand, analytic trees enable companies to determine whether proper investigation has taken place in all areas (Oakley, 2003). This paper will consider the similarities and differences of the fault tree approach and analytic tree approach based on their pros and cons.
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Both the fault tree and analytic tree approaches are useful for an investigator to determine the causal factors of an accident. However, the two approaches do not share pros and cons. The fault tree approach is easy to use for accident investigation, thereby suitable for small accidents (Oakley, 2003). It involves the graphical presentation of fewer basic events than is the case with the analytic tree approach. The fault tree approach also deals with the actual accident because its development takes place after the accident (Macdonald, 2004). The main limitation of the fault tree approach is that there is a likelihood of missing some areas during investigation. This is because the approach comes after the accident, which reduces investigation time. The development of the analytic tree approach takes place before the accident, which minimizes the possibility of missing critical areas during investigation (Whittingham, 2008). Analytic tree approach is not suitable for small accidents because it might be extremely confusing. This is because it involves numerous generic and basic events.
In conclusion, both fault tree and analytic tree approaches allow accident investigators to determine the causal factors of an accident. Analytic tree approach comes before the accident, thereby suitable for minimizing the possibility of missing critical areas during investigation. Fault tree approach is suitable for investigating small accidents while analytic tree is useful for investigating complex accidents with many causal factors (Oakley, 2003).
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