What we offer

Real-world experience with hundreds of accident investigations.

We approach each incident investigation with a specialized perspective. Our team includes certified safety professionals (CSP), professional engineers (P.E.), Ph.D.-level engineers and scientists, and Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators (CFEI). This blend of expertise uniquely positions us to perform advanced forensic analysis on crucial evidence. With proficiency in blast effects, structural analysis, materials engineering, chemical engineering, process safety, and more, combined with our cutting-edge computer modeling and testing capabilities, our incident investigation experts adeptly analyze potential incident hypotheses and determine the causes of incidents.

Investigation support services:

  • Preservation and management of incident scenes
  • Documentation and collection of relevant evidence
  • Support through incident reconstruction and forensic analysis
  • Origin and cause determination
  • Root cause analysis
  • Development of effective recommendations for minimizing the risk of a repeat incidents

Types of Incidents We Investigate

warning

Catastrophic equipment failure

chemistry flask with bubbles

chemical releases from loss of containment events

gas tank

ignitable gas/vapor fires and explosions

dust

Combustible dust fires and explosions

offshore platform incidents

product and catalyst contamination

process control circuit logic anomalies

residential and commercial building fires and explosions

Services

Investigation and litigation support services.

Site Management and Logistical Support

Following an incident, effective site control, scene documentation, and evidence collection and preservation are critical aspects of any investigation. BakerRisk’s team of seasoned investigators excel at managing various considerations to swiftly establish a functional site management plan. Through collaboration with clients, government agencies, and stakeholders, we work to ensure the preservation, thorough documentation, and proper retention of evidence, aligning with industry-accepted practices while accommodating diverse environmental, safety, and regulatory parameters.

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site management activities include:

  • Securing the incident scene to preserve scene conditions and protect items of evidentiary value from degradation or alteration by unauthorized personnel
  • Development of protocols to ensure involved parties are able to conduct their investigations in a safe and efficient manner
  • Site activity coordination with facility personnel and involved parties
  • Evidence management including collection, preservation, and examinations.
  • Protocol preparation for coordinating laboratory inspections, testing, and analyses
  • Evidence management throughout the life cycle of the investigation

Scene Documentation and Evidence Collection

Our knowledge of relevant incident investigation guidance documents and extensive real-world experience gained from hundreds of incident investigations have allowed us to provide robust and streamlined scene documentation and evidence collection services. Our investigators assist in identifying evidence and prioritizing the collection of time-sensitive items, and you can trust our team of investigators to execute these activities in strict accordance with industry best practices. We meticulously document the scene, collaborate with relevant parties to establish evidence collection and in-situ testing protocols, and rigorously conduct evidence testing and collection, adhering to both site-specific and industry-wide requirements.

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Scene documentation and evidence collection activities include:

  • Site documentation, including multimedia (still image, videography, drone video), debris mapping, and heat mapping
  • Damage indicator documentation and measurement
  • Photo documentation, mapping, tagging, and collection of evidence
  • GPS mapping of site characteristics and items of evidentiary value
  • Protocol development for the identification, removal, preservation, and examination of evidentiary items
  • Evidence custodian support, including evidence logs, chain of custody transfers, visitor logs, sample splitting, etc.
  • Facilitating evidence examination and testing protocols at the scene or in a laboratory

Cause Analysis

From the outset, we have been dedicated to assisting clients in effectively determining incident causes. Whether it involves fires, explosions, or industrial chemical incidents, the core objective remains the same: identifying root causes to develop safeguards against recurrence. Drawing on extensive industry experience spanning residential and commercial building fires, offshore platform incidents, and catastrophic equipment failures, along with the use of advanced analysis software like our proprietary CATree© tool, BakerRisk excels in examining incident scenes, crafting hypotheses for causes, and offering valuable insights for future mitigation strategies.

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Cause determination activities include:

  • Conduct witness interviews
  • Review electronic data, such as security camera footage, process information, automatic alarms, etc.
  • Analysis and review of process status and changes using physical or electronic evidence and witness statements
  • Timeline of event development
  • Identification of potential ignition, fuel, and oxidant sources
  • Mapping and analysis of fire patterns
  • Fuel dispersion, ignition, combustion, and other fire dynamics modeling
  • Damage indicator characterization and explosion simulation
  • Structural response modeling
  • Development of logic, event, and other cause analysis diagrams

Incident Reconstruction

We have the capabilities necessary to evaluate specific aspects of a hypothesized scenario, depending on the complexity of the reconstruction effort. With in-house expertise that includes the development and execution of engineering calculations, numerical modeling simulations, and exploratory test implementation, our team leverages both computer and experimental models to reconstruct various aspects of an incident.

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Reconstruction tests and computer simulation activities include:

  • Evaluation of gas-fired industrial oven burner systems
  • Analysis of natural gas dispersion and mixing inside of a purpose-built structure
  • Recreation of industrial pneumatic tool failures
  • Modeling air infiltration into inerted storage tanks
  • Scale modeling of coal mine ventilation patterns
  • Replication of runaway chemical reactions
  • Application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to simulate flammable releases on offshore platforms
  • Finite element analysis (FEA) modeling of blast wave effects on a storage tank
  • FEA modeling of piping system failure effects on a large furnace

Expert Witness Litigation Support

BakerRisk staff members are active in technical societies and recognized national consensus standards organizations, including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the American Petroleum Institute (API). Many of our team members are licensed professional engineers (P.E.) or Ph.D.-level scientists and have served as subject matter experts in legal proceedings within their respective areas. Our lead origin and cause investigators are trained to apply NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, and are typically accredited Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators (CFEI).

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Expert witness and litigation support activities include:

  • Examination and testing of evidence
  • Explanation of technical, factual information
  • Performing engineering analyses and modeling to evaluate hypotheses
  • Interpretation of codes and standards
  • Evaluation and development of expert opinions
  • Expert testimony in areas of expertise
  • Development of courtroom exhibits
  • Preparation of expert reports
  • Participation in depositions

Qualifications

Why trust us?

BakerRisk staff members are active in technical societies and recognized national consensus standards organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the American Petroleum Institute (API). We’ve also written the 3rd Edition of the Guidelines for Investigating Process Safety Incidents.

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Certified Safety Professionals

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hours of incident training delivered

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National Fire Protection association 921 committee

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accidents investigated

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Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators

Onsite Investigations

See our expert investigators in action.

man taking photo of incident
3 investigators measuring and taking notes
man climbing metal rubble
man measuring pipe
measuring large hole in a pipe
metal rubble

First Onsite

Accident investigation team partners.

BakerRisk partners with companies that offer services that complement our incident investigation techniques, including FIRST ONSITE: a leading restoration and property reconstruction company serving North America and beyond. We have worked with them, know how they operate, and trust them to provide outstanding quality and service.

First Onsite logo

Investigation Standards

NFPA 921

Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations

ASTM E1188

Standard Practice for Collection and Preservation of Information and Physical Items by a Technical Investigator

ASTM E1459

Standard Guide for Physical Evidence Labeling and Related Documentation

ASTM E860

Examining and Preparing Items That Are or May Become Involved in Criminal or Civil Litigation

ASTM E1492

Standard Practice for Receiving, Documenting, Storing, and Retrieving Evidence in a Forensic Science Laboratory

CATree©

Our proprietary root cause analysis tool.

CATree© is a state-of-the-art Root Cause Analysis (RCA) tool that requires less training and is more comprehensive than other similar techniques. This user-friendly tool provides a systematic, consistent, repeatable process designed to help users identify potential root causes. What makes CATree© unique is its ability to cover not only the regulated elements of process safety and occupational safety health and environment (SHE) but also the additional elements in risk-based process safety (RBPS), including:

  • Safety culture
  • Tools and equipment
  • The life cycle of engineering projects (both capital and smaller management-of-change)
  • Human factors

Our proprietary CATree© provides a reliable method for understanding the underlying root causes behind incidents, enabling the implementation of corrective actions that directly address these core issues.

Interested in learning more about CATree©?

Please fill out the form below to let us know you are interested in CATree©.

CATree Interest Form
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Our Specialists

Meet our accident investigation experts.