Transportation safety deficiencies and associated risks are communicated in various ways to the public and to organizations best able to effect change. The kind of safety communication used depends on the estimated level of risk and the scope of the problem.
The TSB will not wait until its investigation is complete or the final report is published to disseminate important safety information to those who can address the problem right away.
The TSB does not have the mandate or authority to implement specific corrective actions. Such actions are taken by the change agents such as regulatory agencies, manufacturers, and operating companies.
Published on the TSB website once the investigation has been completed, investigation reports are themselves a safety communication product, identifying the causes of the occurrence and the factors that contributed to it. Investigation reports reference or include other safety communications issued as result of the investigation.
Safety information letters
The TSB sends safety information letters to regulatory and/or industry stakeholders to advise them of potentially unsafe acts or conditions identified during an investigation that pose low risks and do not require immediate remedial action. The letters aim to promote safety or clarify issues that a stakeholder is already examining, and are sent before the investigation has been completed.
Safety information letters that do not contain privileged or proprietary information are posted in the “Safety letters and concerns” index for each mode on the website.
Safety advisories are letters sent to regulatory or industry stakeholders to inform them about potentially unsafe acts or conditions identified during an investigation that pose low to medium risks. The advisories suggest remedial action to reduce those risks. If a potentially unsafe act or condition needs to be addressed right away, an advisory will be sent before the investigation has been completed.
Safety advisories are posted in the “Safety letters and concerns” index for each mode on the website.
Safety concerns provide a marker to industry and the regulator that the Board has identified a potentially unsafe act or condition for which it does not yet have sufficient information to make a recommendation. As more data and analysis become available and the potentially unsafe act or condition is found to be systemic, the safety concern may lead to a recommendation.
Safety concerns are usually communicated in final investigation reports. Links to them are posted in the “Safety letters and concerns” index for each mode on the website.
As part of its mandate, the TSB makes recommendations to eliminate or reduce safety deficiencies that pose significant risks to the transportation system and warrant the attention of regulators and industry.
Recommendations are usually issued with the final investigation report. However, if a safety deficiency is determined to be high risk and needs to be addressed right away, a recommendation will be issued before the investigation has been completed.
Under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, federal ministers must formally respond to TSB recommendations within 90 days and explain how they have addressed or will address the safety deficiencies. The Act does not require other stakeholders to respond to the TSB's recommendations, but they usually do.
The Board assesses responses to recommendations according to the extent to which the safety deficiency has been or is being addressed, and rates them according to the Assessment rating guide. Once recommendations have been assessed as Fully Satisfactory, they are closed. The TSB continually monitors the progress being made on its recommendations.
The history of each recommendation’s assessment and reassessment is posted in the “Recommendations” index for each mode on the website.
The TSB’s Watchlist identifies the key safety issues that need to be addressed to make Canada’s transportation system even safer. The eight issues on this list are supported by a combination of investigation reports and Board safety concerns and Board recommendations. Some of them have been on the Watchlist since 2010, and all of them require a concerted effort from the regulator and industry stakeholders.