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Mishap Investigation Responsibilities - 14167_59
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Figure  4-1.—Advice  to  witnesses  form
applied  to  afloat  units  in  OPNAVINST  5100.21B, Afloat  Mishap  Investigation  and  Reporting. TESTIMONIAL IMMUNITY Federal  law  requires  the  U.S.  Navy  to  make available to other federal agencies copies of mishap investigations   occurring   ashore.   Because   of   this potential  widespread  distribution,  we  don’t  use  the concept of privilege to gather information for shore mishaps. Instead, we use a similar concept that promises the  witnesses  “testimonial  immunity.” We   grant   testimonial   immunity   to   gather information  that  might  not  ordinarily  be  volunteered. Although   less   encompassing   than   the   concept   of privilege  used  by  the  mishap  investigation  boards  for afloat  and  aviation  mishaps,  testimonial  immunity protects  individuals  from  adverse  action  based  solely  on the  information  they  provide. As  we  saw  with  afloat  and  aviation  mishaps,  a complete  and  comprehensive  mishap  investigation  is  an essential tool in identifying the cause of a mishap and thereby  preventing  recurrence.  The  primary  source  of shore  mishap  information  in  the  past  was  a  Judge Advocate General (JAG) investigation. However, the JAGMAN  investigation  can  be  used  to  determine accountability  and  culpability. The Manual of the Judge Advocate General,  JAG Instruction   5800.7C,   governs   the   JAG   Manual investigation.  In  a  JAG  Manual  investigation,  however, the  reluctance  of  witnesses  to  divulge  information  for fear of being punished might lead to the loss of valuable safety   information.   The   purpose   of   the   safety investigation  is  mishap  prevention,  not  the  deter- mination of accountability. That is why we use the concept  of  testimonial  immunity  for  shore  mishap investigations. Individuals may be reluctant to reveal information pertinent to a shore mishap because they believe certain uses  of  the  information  could  be  embarrassing  or detrimental  to  themselves,  their  fellow  service members, their command, their employer, or others. They  may  also  elect  to  withhold  information  by exercising  their  constitutional  right  to  avoid  self- incrimination. We must assure members of the armed forces that they may confide in others for the mutual benefit of fellow  service  members  without  incurring  personal jeopardy  in  the  process.  Witnesses  do not  provide statements to shore mishap investigation boards under oath, and requiring them to do so is prohibited. Mishap investigators must advise witnesses, in writing, of the purpose for which they are providing a statement and of the limited use to be made of the statement (fig. 4-1). The witnesses’ statements are not limited to matters they could testify about in court. They may be invited to express opinions and speculate on possible causes of the mishap. The   Department   of   the   Navy   will   not   use information gathered under the concept of testimonial immunity as follows: In  mating  any  determination  affecting  the interest of an individual providing the informa- tion As  evidence,  or  to  obtain  evidence,  in  deter- mining  misconduct  or  the  line-of-duty  status  of an  individual  providing  the  information As evidence, or to obtain evidence, to discipline the  individual  providing  the  information As  evidence,  or  to  obtain  evidence,  to  assert affirmative  claims  on  behalf  of  the  government against  an  individual  providing  the  information As evidence, or to obtain evidence, before admin- istrative bodies, such as officer evaluation boards (USN)  or  field  performance  boards,  (USMC) pertaining   to   the   individual   providing   the information As evidence, or to obtain evidence, in any other administrative  or  judicial  proceeding  affecting the  individual  providing  the  information PRE-MISHAP PLANS No  one  plans  to  have  a  mishap,  but  your effectiveness  in  conducting  an  investigation  may depend  on  preplanning  in  case  a  mishap  happens. Aviation squadrons have pre-mishap plans. These plans tell who to call and what actions to take when you are first notified of a mishap. Nearly every airport and large community has drills and plans to combat disasters. Pre-mishap plans are highly recommended for every ship and occupational safety and health (OSH) office. Pre-mishap  plans  can  range  from  one  page  to volumes.  They  may  consist  of  checklists  for  each  type of mishap. They must provide clear, concise instructions on what to do and when to do it. They should provide for saving  and  maintaining  an  alarm  system  or method, saving  lives, protecting lives and property from more loss, and 4-4

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