Over the past decade, there has been a growing openness about the importance of human factors in forensic work. However, most of it focused on cognitive bias, and neglected issues of workplace wellness and stress. Forensic scientists work in a dynamic environment that includes common workplace pressures such as workload volume, tight deadlines, lack of advancement, number of working hours, low salary, technology distractions, and fluctuating priorities. However, in addition, forensic scientists also encounter a number of industry-specific pressures, such as technique criticism, repeated exposure to crime scenes or horrific case details, access to funding, working in an adversarial legal system, and zero tolerance for “errors”. Thus, stress is an important human factor to mitigate for overall error management, productivity and decision quality (not to mention the well-being of the examiners themselves). Techniques such as mindfulness can become powerful tools to enhance work and decision quality.
- Category: Journal Articles