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What is a Safety Flash?

IMCA safety flashes and systems for incident reporting and analysis are an important tool for sharing vital information. By publishing them, IMCA helps its members around the world identify potential hazards, share lessons learnt and avoid repetition. Any member can submit material to [email][email protected][/email]. All submissions are handled in the strictest confidence, with information anonymised, checked before issue and published only with clear permission from the originator. Safety flashes should be succinct, specific, factually correct and written in clear language. The secretariat will assist with this through formatting and checking of the material submitted.

When a member incident report is received by IMCA, it will firstly be reviewed by a technical adviser. A draft ‘IMCA version’ of the incident will be prepared, and this will be sent back for review to the originator. No further action is taken until the originator signals clearly that the incident is OK to be published. Sometimes a number of iterations of this process are required before the incident report is ready for publication.

IMCA remains aware that it is sometimes necessary for members to take legal advice before sharing incident information, and we would stress that published safety flashes are always completely anonymous. IMCA does encourage members to continue to share information about incidents, hazards and lessons learnt, as far as is reasonably practical.

Sometimes IMCA receives links or references to incidents published by other organisations (for example, the Marine Safety Forum (MSF)), or to incidents that are otherwise already in the public domain. If it is considered that further sharing of these incidents would be of use and interest to members, we will create a short note within a safety flash providing a link to that incident.

Members can help by following a number of pointers:

  • The title should be concise and focus on the main issue;
  • The focus should be on lessons learnt and how to prevent a recurrence, rather than on the incident itself;
  • The content should be succinct, specific and, as far as possible, a common theme or pattern should be followed:
    • What happened? an incident or an issue will be described;
    • Why? What were the immediate causes and, if appropriate, the root causes;
    • Learning: what can members learn from this?
    • Action: what are the recommendations for members?
  • Ideally there should be photographs or illustrations.

A safety flash incident report should provide sufficient detail and communicate risks, precautions and necessary actions effectively without releasing information about the people or organisations involved. For further information, please contact the secretariat.

Safety Event

Published: 17 October 2013
Download: IMCA SF 16/13

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.