Puget Sound Chapter Meeting – April 2024

  • Chapter Meeting
     April 17, 2024
     8:00 am - 9:30 am

Please note that we are meeting in person at a new venue and offering a virtual option via Zoom.  

If you plan to attend virtually, indicate “pay at the door” and you will not be charged.  Please pay via PayPal if you plan to attend in person as we will not be taking payment at the door.

For those attending in person, please plan to arrive between 7:00-7:30 and join us for breakfast at 7:30AM.  We will begin the presentation at 8:00 for those attending virtually.


Jennifer Serne, Professor


Central Washington University


We think we know what happened- Cognitive Bias in Investigations


As humans, we are all prone to unconscious biases, whether we recognize them or not. Most of the time these natural psychological processes help us reduce our cognitive load when coping with the inherent complexity of our world. However, these sneaky mental shortcuts can also prevent us from developing an objective and accurate picture of the set of circumstances leading to an outcome.


This presentation will introduce the most common cognitive biases that impact decision-making when evaluating evidence to determine the causes of an incident and discuss some proven ways to mitigate these biases’ influence.


Safety professionals are often tasked with investigating incidents to learn how to prevent future incidents and find areas in which their organization can improve. Understanding how bias can impede the investigation process and some mitigative strategies strengthen a professional’s ability to maximize organizational learning from their investigations.


Jennifer Serne is the program coordinator and professor of Safety Health Management at Central Washington University. She teaches classes covering Hazardous Materials Management, Fire Safety, Incident Investigation, Emergency Response, Construction and Manufacturing Safety, Safety Analysis Systems, and Ergonomics and Human Factors. Previously, she worked in various safety-related positions that included experience with research safety, pharmaceutical safety, radiation safety, and emergency response. She also has 20 years of experience working as an independent fatality investigator, serving various clients and industries in 36 states and 6 countries. She has a Masters in Safety Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and is currently writing her dissertation for her Ph.D. in human factors and industrial psychology. Her research portfolio includes work related to learning from failure, automation surprise, and mode confusion, how cognitive bias impacts decision-making in accident investigations, using storytelling to increase empathy during causal analysis, and the attribution of blame in fatal medical mistakes, assembly occupancy fire disasters, and serious aviation accidents.

Virtual Option – Join Zoom Meeting

Puget Sound ASSP is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 917 2869 7457
Passcode: 238605
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Venue:   Doubletree Suites by Hilton Southcenter

Venue Phone: (206) 575-8220

Venue Website:

16500 Southcenter Parkway, Seattle, Washington, 98188, United States