On 1 November 2011, the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB) resulted from the merger of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) and the Investigation Bureau for Railway, Funicular and Boat Accidents (IRFBA). The merger of the two services had the objective to concentrate specialized knowledge and to guarantee unity of doctrine in accident investigations. As per 1 February 2015, the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (SAIB) was renamed Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB). This name change was part of a law reform. In this law reform, three ordinances, which had previously defined the SAIB were consolidated and combined into one single ordinance. Part of the reform was to transfer the responsibility for the investigation into incidents of Switzerland-registered seagoing vessels to the STSB in addition to the SAIB's former responsibilities.
The STSB is an extra-parliamentary commission in accordance to Articles 57a-57g of the Government and Administration Organisation Act (GAOA; SR 172.010). The STSB investigates incidents in aviation, public transportation and high seas navigation in accordance with the Ordinance on the Safety Investigation of Transportation Incidents (OSITI; SR 742.161). The investigation consists of an independent clarification of the technical, operational and human circumstances and causes leading to the event. The investigations' only goal is to increase safety in transportation, i.e. to prevent similar incidents in the future. The target audience consists of professionals in the transportation area and the interested public. The reports are explicitly not addressed to judicial and administrative authorities.
The Federal Council appoints the members of the Board of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board. The STSB is administratively affiliated to the General Secretariat of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). The Investigation Bureau of the STSB is composed of the two divisions Aviation and Rail / Navigation as well as the Central Services.
Pieter Zeilstra, born 1962, lic. phil. nat., NDS ORL ETH/FIT, in office since January 2017 (President). Former Vice-Director of the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) and Head of the Safety Division in its capacity as the national safety authority for public transport.
Roland Steiner, born 1957, dipl. El. Ing. ETH, in office since January 2021 (member). Former Swissair/Swiss airline pilot and head of the department technical projects and training equipment; former project manager and program director BSc Aviation ZHAW; former head of Safety Division - Aircraft in the Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA as vice director and member of the board.
Inge Waeber, born 1966, in office since January 2017 (member), self-employed lawyer and notary in Tafers (FR), lecturer in employment law at the hotel and catering employers’ association in Fribourg /Freiburg, former trainee public prosecutor in Canton Fribourg.
Tasks of the STSB's Board
The Board is the supreme management body of the STSB. As such its tasks include, among other things, the organisation of the STSB, the definition of the goals and focal points of its activities, monitoring the Investigation Bureau, approval of the final reports, ensuring an effective quality assurance system and the compilation of an annual report.
The Investigation Bureau
The Investigation Bureau constitutes the operational part of the STSB and is divided into the two divisions Aviation (STSB-AV) and Rail / Navigation (STSB-RN) as well as the Central Services (ZD).
The Director of the Investigation Bureau is responsible for the management, planning, and coordination of all STSB activities, for human resources management, auditing and the organisation of quality assurance. In collaboration with the Board and the Heads of Divisions, he draws up the budget and monitors the financial processes of the STSB. The investigation unit has been managed by Tobias Schaller since 1 August 2018.
The divisions are headed up by Heads of Division, who manage the Investigators in charge. They ensure that the investigations are carried out in accordance with national and international legislation and standards and meet quality requirements. In both divisions Investigators in charge are responsible for the conduct of the individual investigations. External investigators and experts can be commissioned for investigation activities if necessary.
The Aviation Division (STSB-AV) is based at the Payerne military aerodrome and maintains branches at the international airports of Geneva and Zurich. Under the leadership of Daniel W. Knecht as Head of Division, six Investigators in charge and approximately 90 external investigators and experts act on a consultative basis.
Rail / Navigation Division
The Rail / Navigation Division (STSB-RN) has premises in Berne and in Schlieren. The Head of Division Christoph Kupper manages four Investigators in charge and approximately 30 external investigators and experts on a consultative basis.
The head of the Central Services (ZD) Isabelle Kobel manages three employees who work at the two locations in Bern and Payerne.