What is Tripod Beta?

Tripod Beta is a 'gold standard' incident investigation and analysis methodology.

Tripod Beta is a flexible and scientifically developed incident investigation and analysis methodology.  First developed in the 1990s, Tripod Beta is tried and tested, with a network of practitioners based all over the world.  The Tripod Foundation maintains and updates the Tripod Beta methodology regularly, and has a network of accredited practitioners and trainers.  The Energy Institute publishes the official Tripod Beta user guide, and accredited trainers regularly run public and in-house Tripod Beta training courses.

How does it work?

A Tripod Beta analysis of an incident is done in conjunction with the investigation.  The investigation helps build the Tripod Beta model, and the model helps direct the investigation.

The analysis has 3 parts:

What happened - the incident sequence of events is modelled as a series of branching 'trios', each trio containing an event, a hazard (agent) and an object (i.e. the thing or person who was affected).

How it happened - Tripod Beta specifically identifies the barriers (i.e. risk controls) that failed or were missing (or worked in the case of a near miss).  Tripod Beta will be familiar to those who understand and use bow tie diagrams.

Why it happened - For each barrier, Tripod Beta specifically helps the investigator to uncover an immediate cause (the human action or decision that led to the barrier failure), the performance influencing factors that created that behaviour or decision, and the organisational factors (systems, leadership, culture etc.) that created the performance influencing factors.

The Tripod Foundation provides a complete guidebook with step by step instructions on using Tripod Beta.  However, it is highly recommended that users are trained to at least Bronze level (see Tripod training below).  For those expected to lead investigations, you should be trained to at least Silver or Gold level (see Tripod accreditation below).

Optional software - While not required, the Tripod Beta methodology can be supported by software which is owned and sold by Wolters Kluwer. For information and to obtain a trial license, please visit Wolters Kluwer.

Further information: