Bias in Incident Investigations

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Performing an incident investigation is an important role within the job responsibilities of a safety manager or safety professional.

The reason we conduct incident investigations is because we want to learn what caused the incident and hopefully prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

But that well-intended effort can be led astray and misdirected by cognitive biases that the incident investigator may hold and that may influence his or her decisions, judgments, and decisions during the incident investigation.

In this recorded discussion, Assistant Professor Jennifer Serne from Central Washington University’s Safety and Health Management Program tells us about heuristics, cognitive biases, and incident investigations. In a second recorded discussion, she tells us how to guard against these cognitive biases during incident investigations. And in a third and fourth recorded discussion (upcoming), we’ll discuss how heuristics and cognitive biases affect the decisions that employees make at work.

Here’s the video. Enjoy and be sure to check out the other recorded discussions with Jennifer as well.

Here are some links to stuff that came up in this discussion with Jennifer:

We’d like to thank Jennifer for sharing her thoughts on cognitive biases during incident investigations as performed by safety professionals and we hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for the second recorded discussion, in which we talk about things that safety professionals can do to try to minimize the harmful and misleading effects of cognitive biases during incident investigations.

Before you go, please feel free to download the free guide below.

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What we’re calling “New Safety” here goes by a variety of names–HOP, HPI, Safety Differently, Safety-II, Resilience Engineering, and more. Download the guide to learn more about it from many of the world’s top experts.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

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