Guarding Against Bias in Incident Investigations

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In a recent recorded discussion with Jennifer Serne of Central Washington University’s Safety and Health Management program, Jennifer told us how we use heuristics in our life and during incident investigations and how we also fail prey to applying cognitive biases in our incident investigations.

In this continuation of the discussion, Jennifer continues discussing cognitive biases in incident investigations and gives us some tips for trying to be wary of their influence and to try to minimize their influence.

In future conversations, we’ll talk with Jennifer about how employees use heuristics and how they also suffer from cognitive biases when they’re making decisions on the job. Stay tuned for that!

Many thanks to Jennifer Serne for sharing her insights and experience on these issues with us.

Let us know if you have any questions, stay tuned for more from Jennifer, and have a great day.

Feel free to download the free guide below, too. 


Free Download–Guide to Risk-Based Safety Management

Download this free guide to using risk management for your occupational safety and health management program.

Download Free Guide


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Infographic: Intro to Agile-The Agile Manifesto & 12 Agile Principles

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If you’re interested in agile project management, you’re going to want to know about the Agile Manifesto, including its 4 Values, and the 12 Principles of Agile (which follow from those values).

To make it easy for you, we’ve created an Intro to Agile infographic for you with those 4 values and those 12 principles, and you can download it right here and right now.

For even more about using agile for project management, check out our Project Management Basics: What Is Agile  Project Management? article.

Let us know if you’ve got any questions and if you need courses preparing for the examinations offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to get a project management certificate (yep, we’ve got online courses for that through our partners at RedVector!).


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6 Easy Steps to Better Industrial Employee Training Programs

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Providing effective training that helps industrial employees quickly develop necessary job skills is an important part of success for industrial companies. Yet not all industrial employers are familiar with reliable methods of creating and delivering effective training materials and programs that truly help employees acquire necessary job knowledge and (more importantly) acquire needed job skills quickly and efficiently.

In this article, we’ll walk you through a simple, repeatable process for improving your industrial training and facilitating the career growth of the employees at your industrial workplace, we’ll link you to additional resources where you can learn more, and we’ll give you a free guide to industrial/manufacturing training that you can download as well.

Good luck putting together your own training programs at work and let us know if you have additional questions or if we can be of help.

In addition to this article, you might also be interested in our article on Industrial Training Topics and Times of Training Need and our article with some helpful Industrial Training Tips.


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Construction Safety Training Guide

Safety training is important in all types of work and that of course includes construction, an industry with many serious safety and health hazards.

While safety training isn’t the entire solution to mitigating and controlling hazards at construction work sites (don’t forget simple-yet-effective tools like the hierarchy of controls for workplace safety risk management and the importance of a safety management program or system), it can of course play an important role.

But many safety professionals, despite being tasked with high-stakes safety training, haven’t had the opportunity to study the basics of what makes training effective–meaning, how to improve knowledge and skill levels; how to improve comprehension and retention; how to help reinforce and support workers after training so they’re more likely to apply that safety training on the job, when and where it matters; how to integrate that safety training into your larger organizational learning efforts; how to integrate that safety training into your larger safety management efforts; and more.

In this guide, we’ll give you useful advice to help with all of this. Plus we call out specific OSHA safety training regulations and provide links to helpful resources on safety training from OSHA, ASSP, and other organizations.

You can download the Construction Safety Training Guide below, and in addition you might want to check out our OSHA Construction Compliance Guide.


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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.


Free Download–Guide to Risk-Based Safety Management

Download this free guide to using risk management for your occupational safety and health management program.

Download Free Guide


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Safety, Discipline & Accountability: A Conversation with Andrea Baker

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There have been times or even are times when occupational safety and health professionals have wanted to discipline workers for infractions of various sorts.

In this recorded video discussion, “HOP Mentor” Andrea Baker explains why disciplining workers is often the wrong approach. Instead, she recommends helping to create circumstances in which workers develop accountability for their behaviors, decisions, and work.

Check out Andrea’s HOP Mentor website here, and find additional materials from Andrea at the HOP Hub.

Here are some other articles you might find of interest as well:

Before you go, please feel free to download our infographic showing the famous Mager & Pipe Workplace Performance Problem Analysis & Solution Flowchart.

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Analyzing & Solving Workplace Performance Problems Flowchart

Download this free infographic, based on the famous Mager/Pipe flowchart from their book Analyzing Performance Problems, to determine the cause of workplace performance problems and then select the appropriate solution/intervention.

Download Free Infographic

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Knowledge, Philosophy & Safety: A Conversation with Nick Travaglini

As a safety professional, you want to know about the world around you. But that begs the question–what DO you know about the world around you, how do you know that, and how can you apply all of this to helping create safer, healthier workplaces for everyone in your organization.

  • We recently met Nick Travaglini while listening to him discussing the intersections between philosophy and occupational safety at one of the GREAT online learning experiences that Ron Gantt has been hosting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In three consecutive talks, he discussed a chronology of knowledge, if you will, in western civilization by discussing three works:

    Rene Descartes, The Discourse on the Method, a seminal work that helped set up the Enlightenment and the Newtonian mechanistic world view

  • Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point: Science, Society & The Rising Culture, anTod in particular a chapter on Einstein and physics since Einstein
  • Todd May, Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction (a book about a French post-structuralist philosopher who sought to take lessons from post-Einsteinian physics and apply them to our lives and thought

Give the video below a listen and see what you think. We talk about lots of stuff of interest to safety professionals, including root-cause analysis and how to use diversity to get better opinions and ideas.

We’ve also included some links below to things that came up during the discussion.

Todd Conklin, Pre-Accident Investigation Podcast Series 

Sidney Dekker, Drift into Failure 


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Free On-Demand Webinar: Why Apply HPI?

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Human Performance Improvement, or HPI, is a field or thought (or philosophy, or mindset, or management system) dedicated to helping humans working more effectively within their workplace systems. We recently invited our friend Joe Estey, a human performance improvement specialist, to discuss HPI with us in a live webinar that we’re now offering in a recorded, on-demand version.

View our Why Apply HPI? Webinar at our Webinars webpage.

We hope you enjoy the webinar and invite you to check out collection of workforce training online courses.

We’ve also included a series of links related to HPI (and similar fields, such as Safety Differently, Safety II, and HOP, or human and organizational performance) as well as a free infograpic that reproduces the famous Workplace Performance Improvement flowchart by Mager and Pipe, below.


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Free Infographic: Analzying & Solving Workplace Performance Problems (the Mager & Pipe Flow Chart)

Workplace Performance Probably Analysis Flowchart

One of the key tenants of human performance improvement, or HPI, is that there can be a variety of causes for workplace performance problems and therefore also a variety of potential solutions.

A corollary to this is that workforce training, while it CAN be a great idea, isn’t always the best or even an appropriate solution to a workplace problem.

Creating the RIGHT solution (or intervention) to a workplace performance problem, therefore, begins with correctly analyzing the cause of that problem (this is covered in a little more detail in our article on the ATD’s six-step HPI model).

There are many different methods or models you can use to analyze the cause of a workplace performance problem. At the bottom of this article, we’ve provided a free workplace performance problem analysis flow chart you can use for this. The flowchart is drawn from the famous book Analyzing Performance Problems; or, You Really Oughta Wanna by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe (if you’re not familiar with the flowchart, the book, or with Mager & Pipe, we encourage you to study up on all of them–start by reading our article here and then run, don’t walk, to buy and read the book).

Of course, there are other methods for analyzing workplace problems and improving performance, and we’ll being writing about some of them in the future as well (actually, this article on systems thinking for performance improvement and this article on the value of thinking slow, not fast at work are good places to start), but this is a pretty solid place to start.

Enjoy the free downloadable flowchart, let us know if you have any questions, and good luck improving the performance of workers at your workplace.


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Free Guide: Online Training for the Corrugated Manufacturing Industry

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Responsible for training employees in the corrugated board industry?

If so, you’re going to love this guide free guide.

We cover a LOT of information that will help you improve your overall organization learning and training efforts.

Check it out–we hope you like it.

And let us know if you’d like to know more about the online corrugated board training courses, learning management system (LMS), and other safety and performance-improvement tools we have available for corrugated board manufacturers, too.


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Free Guide to OSHA Compliance for the Construction Industry

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OSHA’s 1926 standards provide safety regulations for American employers in the construction industry (along with some additional regulations that apply to all US employers, such as OSHA’s General Duty clause).

To help construction industry employers meet their OSHA compliance requirements, we’ve created this handy Guide to OSHA Construction Compliance, which is based on OSHA’s Compliance Assistance Quick Start for the Construction Industry.

Of course, every organization is unique and no guide (not even OSHA’s Quick Start) can guarantee your organization is compliant, but we think you’ll find this guide does a great job in alerting you to much of what you need to do to get into compliance. We’ve even included a checklist at the end that you can use and modify for your own compliance needs.

Also, stay tuned for our upcoming Guide to Construction Safety Training, which we anticipate having ready for you all next month.


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