The main purpose of the Board of Inquiry is to examine circumstances and facts surrounding a military accident. This typically includes when accidents lead to death.
They are also responsible for preventing similar military accidents from reoccurring by identifying any possible safety factors, including equipment improvements, working practices and procedures. The Board of Inquiry take any relevant recommendations to responsible senior officers.
What the Board of Inquiry does
Addressing specific questions as set out within its terms of reference, the Board of Inquiry will:
- Gather evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Establish facts
- Examine relevant procedures
- Assess whether procedures require amendment
- Identify potential lessons to be learned from the incident
- Make recommendations to prevent recurrences if and when possible
- Document and submit findings, recommendations and conclusions for review and acceptance by senior officers
At no point during the investigation will the Board of Inquiry attribute negligence, blame or recommend disciplinary action against anyone connected to the incident.
Copies of the report
In the case that a military accident is the cause of death/s, the next of kin of the deceased individual/s will be kept informed of proceedings at varying stages. They will also receive a copy of the final report, consisting of the Board of Inquiry’s convening order and terms of reference, as well as findings, recommendations and conclusions. Senior officers’ comments based on the gathered information will also be included.
Documents revealing supporting evidence may be requested, but it may not be possible for everything to be released. Released documents may also be edited to remove security sensitive, personal or otherwise confidential information.
While these documents do not attribute blame, the findings, witness interviews, etc contained therein may come in handy as supporting evidence during a compensation claim.
Serving in the military is obviously a very dangerous occupation. Participating in combat invariably involves risks, and injuries are inevitable.
The Ministry of Defence does, however, have a duty to protect employees against avoidable military injuries, just like other employers have a duty to prevent accidents at work. This includes adequate training, provision of suitable, functional equipment and reduction of potential risks when and where possible.
When avoidable accidents happen
If you sustained an avoidable injury during military service, such as road or air crashes, parachute accidents or explosions, diving or negligent discharges, for example, you may be entitled to make a military injury claim, just as a civilian employee may claim for work injury compensation if he or she suffered an injury at work.
To get the best possible, most experienced legal assistance in conducting your claim, call our Accident Advice Helpline team on 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice