The Self‐Administered Witness Interview Tool (SAW‐IT): enhancing witness recall of workplace incidents

Carla L. Maclean, Fiona Gabbert, Lorraine Hope

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Given the often crucial role of witness evidence in Occupational Health and Safety investigation, statements should be obtained as soon as possible after an incident using best practice methods. The present research systematically tested the efficacy of a novel Self‐Administered Witness Interview Tool (SAW‐IT); an adapted version of the Self‐Administered Interview (SAI©) designed to elicit comprehensive information from witnesses to industrial events. The present study also examined whether completing the SAW‐IT mitigated the effect of schematic processing on witness recall. Results indicate that the SAW‐IT elicited significantly more correct details, as well as more precise information than a traditional incident report form. Neither the traditional report from, nor the SAW‐IT mitigated against biasing effects of contextual information about a worker's safety history, confirming that witnesses should be shielded from extraneous post‐event information prior to reporting. Importantly, these results demonstrate that the SAW‐IT can enhance the quality of witness reports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1223
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date24 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2019


  • cognitive bias
  • eyewitness memory
  • incident report form
  • Self-Administered Interview
  • workplace incident investigation


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