Better Accident Investigations Through Storytelling

  • ASSP Central Florida MAY Chapter Meeting - Virtual
    May 10, 2021
    11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Accident investigation reports often read like a tragicomedy of poor decision making, leaving investigators scratching their heads over how someone could possibly be so stupid! However, when those involved in the accident are more intensely questioned, they often report that those very stupid decisions felt very right the time. For the investigator, making sense of these so-called stupid decisions is vital to discovering the latent factors and attitudes at play in the accident sequence. In this presentation, we will explore how telling the accident story from the perspective of those involved can allow investigations to be more useful for the promotion of accident prevention.

Jennifer Serne is an Assistant Professor in the Safety Health Management program at Central Washington University. She teaches classes covering a variety of topics including, Incident Investigation, Emergency Response, Systems Safety, and Ergonomics and Human Factors. Previously, she worked for 20 years in the safety industry including the areas of research safety, pharmaceutical safety, radiation safety, and emergency response. She has also worked as an independent fatality investigator, serving various clients in 36 states and 6 countries. She has a Masters in Safety Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and is currently working on her dissertation for her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Human Factors which explores blame during causal attributions in accident investigations.