Investigative Interviewing: what it is, where it came from and how to use it, by Andrew J Farrall CMIOSH
Review undertaken by Duncan Spencer CFIOSH, head of advice and practice, IOSH
This easy-to-read handbook is packed full of advice on how to apply good interviewing technique in the workplace. It draws on the history of interrogation, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of different methods which helps the reader understand the mistakes that can be made by the unprepared. But don’t buy this book to learn everything about how to conduct an investigation, its purpose is to explore one skill in depth, conducting the investigative interview.
Investigation is a core skill for any health and safety professional. Interviewing is an art that needs to be perfected over time. This handbook will provide a boost to individual development, containing good practical advice for those starting their career in safety, and offers plenty to reflect on for those who are more advanced.
'The handbook is a useful collection of thoughts and advice'
To illustrate the points, the handbook assumes an adversarial relationship between interviewer and interviewee, suggesting that witnesses have something to hide and may even be uncooperative and deceitful.
Of course, the reality is that in many organisations the health & safety culture may be more mature than this and, in practice, a no blame learning culture will hopefully encourage witnesses to be more open and honest. The handbook helps here too, discussing how even witnesses can be fooled by their own senses or influenced by others and how the investigator can address this inevitability.
The handbook is a useful collection of thoughts and advice that, once read cover to cover, will no doubt become a go to reference for refreshing the skill of interviewing when those rare major incidents happen along.