Introduction: Peripheral intravenous cannula (PIVC) insertion is one of the most common clinical interventions performed in emergency care worldwide. However, factors associated with successful PIVC placement and maintenance are not well understood. This study seeks to determine the predictors of first time PIVC insertion success in emergency department (ED) and identify the rationale for removal of the ED inserted PIVC in patients admitted to the hospital ward. Reducing failed insertion attempts and improving peripheral intravenous cannulation practice could lead to better staff and patient experiences, as well as improving hospital efficiency. Methods and analysis: We propose an observational cohort study of PIVC insertions in a patient population presenting to ED, with follow-up observation of the PIVC in subsequent admissions to the hospital ward. We will collect specific PIVC observational data such as; clinician factors, patient factors, device information and clinical practice variables. Trained researchers will gather ED PIVC insertion data to identify predictors of insertion success. In those admitted from the ED, we will determine the dwell time of the ED-inserted PIVC. Multivariate regression analyses will be used to identify factors associated with insertions success and PIVC failure and standard statistical validation techniques will be used to create and assess the effectiveness of a clinical predication rule. Ethics and dissemination: The findings of our study will provide new evidence to improve insertion success rates in the ED setting and identify strategies to reduce premature device failure for patients admitted to hospital wards. Results will unravel a complexity of factors that contribute to unsuccessful PIVC attempts such as patient and clinician factors along with the products, technologies and infusates used.