Join our Webinar – Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – Noon to 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

Posted & filed under Events.

Using mental modeling in occupational health and safety: Improving electrical safety through understanding of electricians’ decision making and behavior

Join Decision . Partners Inc. and the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) of Ontario in a webinar hosted by the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) to learn how mental modeling is being used to improve electrical worker occupational health and safety in Canada. We will present research that lends rich insight into electrician’s decision making and behavior related to working safely. The results are being used to inform development of behavior-focused risk management and risk communication interventions to improve electrical occupational safety in Ontario.

 To register, go to:


About the work

Electricians’ fatal or serious injuries often occur when working on energized systems, even though safety standards advise working de-energized. We used a mental models research method to develop deep insight into the decisions and contexts that lead to working energized. This included developing an ‘expert model’ that illustrates diverse expert understanding of influences on electricians’ safety decisions and behaviors. In-depth interviews with 60 electricians elicited their ‘mental models’ of the same topics. Analysis of the interviews was guided by concepts found in the expert model. Results are informing behavior-focused risk management and risk communication interventions in OH&S regulatory oversight in Ontario. This webinar will be of interest to those in OH&S fields as well as to those who want to know about mental modeling more generally. 

This work was sponsored by ESA and conducted with Decision Partners using Decision Partners’ patented science-informed, evidence-based Mental Modeling Technology™ (MMT™), along with leading practices in cognitive and behavioral psychology, risk communication and risk management. 


About the webinar

Presenters will be Laurel Austin, Adjunct Research Professor at the Ivey Business School and Senior Research Scientist at Decision Partners, Joel Moody, MD, PhD, and MPh, Director of Safety, Risk, Policy and Innovation at the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), and Sarah Thorne, CEO of Decision . Partners Inc. This webinar is organized and hosted by the Occupational Health and Safety Specialty group of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA).  For more about SRA, go to





Decision Partners set to present groundbreaking research at the World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion

Posted & filed under Events.

Decision Partners will present the results of its groundbreaking research for the Electrical Safety Association at the 12th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, September 18-21 in Tampere Finland. Our paper, Occupational Safety Behaviour of Ontario Electricians: A Mental Models Approach to Injury Prevention, will be presented by Senior Researcher, Laurel Austen, PhD.

Conference information:

Upcoming Events

Posted & filed under Events.

  • April 20, 2016 Decision Partners Webinar Presentation: Ontario Risk and Insurance Management Society – Presented by Joel Moody, PhD, of Electrical Safety Association & Sarah Thorne, Co-founder Decision Partners. Abstract posted under News
  • July 28 – 30, 2014, Decision Partners’ Senior Scientist, Dr. Dan Kovacs, will participate in a panel discussion at Energytech 2014 on Systems Engineering of Resilient Electric Utilities in a Rapidly Changing Environment. He will be promoting the use of structured qualitative mental modeling for risk communication and stakeholder outreach as a complement to systems engineering of the more technical aspects of electric power systems. The conference will be held in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • On October 15 and 16, 2014 Gordon Butte is speaking at Ag Catalyst in Minneapolis, MN on mental models research-based methods for product marketers and marketing communications in the agriculture and food industries (see:
  • Decision Partners will be participating in the annual conference of the Society for Risk Analysis, Denver CO, December 7 – 10, 2014 – workshop and presentation details to come

Beyond ‘Raising Awareness’

Posted & filed under Events, Latest News.

A great article from MMT™ Applications Professional Ted Bravakis, BravaComm. Learn more about how MMT™ and decision science is advancing organizational change and communications beyond ‘raising awareness’ to measurable behavioural and cultural change that drives business performance and results.

Click here to read the article.

Dr. Dan Kovacs, Ph.D to speak at International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)

Posted & filed under Events, Latest News.

Decision Partners’s Dr. Dan Kovacs, Ph.D will be part of an INCOSE panel discussion Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio:

Throughout the lifecycle of a Complex System, Systems Engineers are challenged to bridge the gaps between several technical and social specialty areas. Risk Management is a field that allows Systems Engineers to make these connections and related strategic decisions in a structured, science‐based manner. The panel will explore current practice for applying Risk Management in Systems Engineering.

The meeting is free and open to the public. To register or for more information, visit .


Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) 2012 Annual Meeting

Posted & filed under Events.

Decision Partners will be presenting/co-presenting the following at the Society of Risk Analysis conference in San Francisco December 9 -12, 2012.

Decision Partners will be presenting:

  • Influences on Farmers’ Decision Making to Avoid Drug Residues in Dairy Cows – A Mental Modeling Approach to Risk Communication. Thorne S, Hartogensis M, Ackerlund S, Kovacs D; Decision Partners; US Food and Drug Administration
  • Software Tools for Achieving Sustainability. Tkachuk A, Thorne S, Butte G, Williams L, Kovacs D, Linkov I, Levchenko V; Decision Partners LLC, USACE ERDC, Simulation Systems LTD
  • Using Cognitive Science Methods and Tools to Define Influences on User Participation in Environment Canada’s Science Alert Database. Kovacs, D.C., Pollock, J.S., Thorne, S., Butte, G., Renaud, D.; Decision Partners; Environment Canada, Science and Technology Branch
  • The Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) Tool: Application of Mental Models Stakeholder Research. Kovacs, D.C., Thorne, S., Butte, G., Chang, F., Pakiam, J., Siegel, D., Hakkinen, P.; Decision Partners; National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
  • A Mental Modeling Approach for Designing and Implementing USACE’s Engineering With Nature Initiative. Bridges T, Thorne S, Butte G, Kovacs D; United States Army Corps of Engineers, Decision Partners