Blame or no blame? Balancing ‘Just Culture’ in safety investigations

In short


5 October 2022


14:00 - 19:00


Speakers’ Corner

Please register for the event here.

The event is a follow-up to the seminar, jointly organised by the Centre of Expertise Global Governance and Leiden Institute of Security and Global Affairs in December 2021, which critically engaged with the relationship between safety and crime to enhance discussion about the criminalisation of safety deficiencies in Europe

The purpose of this event is to explore this topic further through the practical lens and compare independent safety investigations (no blame) with the judicial approach to investigate incidents (blame) in both international and Dutch context. 

The first two speakers, Annemarie Schuite and Ron Smits, will discuss the work of the Dutch Safety Board, which carried out a number of high-profile safety investigations. Among the most well-known ones are: Malaysian flight MH17 (of which the sentencing hearing is scheduled for 17th November 2022), the Panama flagged containership MSC Zoe and the fire at Shell Moerdijk. 

In the second part of the session, Thom Koning will highlight the challenges with the no-blame approach in a real case incident investigation in an international company. Nico Kaptein will make an introduction to the concept of Restorative Just Culture which aims to repair trust and relationships damaged after an incident.


14:00 - 14:10                             Introduction, Anna Matczak, lecturer and researcher, Safety and Security Management Studies & Centre of Expertise Global Governance, THUAS
 14:10 - 14:40  Annemarie Schuite, senior legal officer, Dutch Safety Board
 14:40 - 14:45  Q&A
 14:45 - 15:15  Ron Smits, factfinding coordinator, advisor to the Board of the Dutch Safety Board
 15:15 - 15:20  Q&A
 15:20 - 15:45  Coffee break
 15:45 - 16:15  Thom Koning, lecturer, Safety and Security Management Studies, owner at Mizzen Global, trainer for the European Maritime Safety Agency
 16:15 - 16:20  Q&A
 16:20 - 16:50  Nico Kaptein, owner at Maruda, Associate at COT Institute for Safety Security and Crisis Management, lecturer at Northumbria University
 16:50 - 17:20  Panel discussion
 17:20 - 17:30  Conclusion, Thom Koning
 17:30 - 19:00  Networking drinks


Annemarie Schuite – senior legal officer Dutch Safety Board, expert in air and space law, guest lecturer at the Aviation Academy and Leiden University. Since 2010 she has worked for the Dutch Safety Board and was involved in the MH17 investigation.

Ron Smits – factfinding coordinator, advisor to the Board of the Dutch Safety Board with a long track record in incident investigations. He graduated from TU Delft with a degree in Management of Safety, Health and Environment. He was rewarded with a Royal decoration for his work as an investigator at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine.

Thom Koning – worked as merchant mariner and at the Dutch Shipping Inspectorate. In 1998 he joined the Dutch Safety Board as a senior-investigator. After 10 years he moved to Heerema Marine Contractors to become a manager for all QHSES matters worldwide. In 2018 Thom established his own company, Mizzen Global, contributing to QHSE operational excellence and executing training in incident investigation, safety leadership and resilience in aviation, rail, shipping, manufacturing and construction industry. In 2021, Thom joined SSMS as a part time lecturer to contribute to the education of the next generation of safety and security professionals.    

Nico Kaptein - owner at Maruda, Associate at COT Institute for Safety, Security and Crisis Management, lecturer at Northumbria University. He was Head of Research and Consultancy at COT from 2012 until 2018. At TNO defense research he was responsible for scientific research, consultancy and project management in defense and road safety. His areas of expertise are safety and security strategy, post-incident review and analysis, crisis management. His current focus is on just culture assessment, training, implementation and evaluation. 


Thom Koning – see above

Anna Matczak – Lecturer in Comparative Criminology, SSMS, and researcher at the Centre of Expertise Global Governance, THUAS. She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology, LSE. At THUAS, she is the convenor and coordinator of the minor ‘Crime, Safety and Security’ and her current research projects at THUAS explore the pluralisation of policing during natural disasters and health emergencies and the impact of climate change on the Dutch Police. Since 2019, she has been involved in a collaborative European partnership: Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change, which aims to encourage the development of restorative justice in Europe.

Please register for the event here.