Heinrich–Industrial Accident Prevention

Heinrich – Industrial Accident Prevention

I am embarrassed to admit that it was only a few years ago that I stopped extolling the virtues of Heinrich and his Pyramid – hey it was a simple concept, sort of made sense and the punters loved it! Please forgive me – Dave

If you haven’t yet seen the light here is a terrific collection of recent articles by Alan Quilley on his “Safety Results Blog”. Just yesterday I had someone email desperate to get a copy of this book???

Heinrich – Let it Rest

img_20140612_115557A Quick Summary from a Critical Thinking Point of View:

Heinrich is filled with errors

His Domino Causation Theory is absolutely invalid making any further use of his understanding of accidents and their results invalid

His Accident Proneness Chapter is without foundation

His researched “Raw Data” cannot stand the test of any modern diligence/valid study methodology

His observations of causation for The Foundation of Major Injury are only (at best) correlation and not proof of causation for any kind of Ratio

He writes that the ratio 1:29:300 both “may” and “will” produce his defined major injury

Anyone without a high level of critical thinking can accept that these major flaws don’t seriously impact the results observed. By modern standards the lack of rigor (both in collecting the data and the resulting statistical analysis) is so flawed it’s almost funny.


Herbert William Heinrich – Read his work and understand the limitations of his ideas!

Reasons for Concern – Educate yourself before you give 1930-40′s thinking more validity than it deserves.






If you must use a Triangle – Use a Logical One


If you are looking to reduce the need to have a triangle/ratio to explain predictable outcomes due to common causes (classes of events) you MAY want to consider this as an approach: READ MORE

Sorry It’s WRONG to superimpose Heinrich’s observation with little or no VALID research to support the conclusions


This Should Be Mandatory Reading For Everyone In The OHS Business…

• This article identifies two myths derived from the work of H.W. Heinrich that should be dislodged from the practice of safety: 1) unsafe acts of workers are the principal causes of occupational accidents; and 2) reducing accident frequency will equivalently reduce severe injuries.

• As knowledge has evolved about how accidents occur and their causal factors, the emphasis is now correctly placed on improving the work system, rather than on worker behaviour. Heinrich’s premises are not compatible with current thinking.

• A call is issued to safety professionals to stop using and promoting these premises; to dispel these premises in presentations, writings and discussions; and to apply current methods that look beyond Heinrich’s myths to determine true causal factors of incidents.

Alan D. Quilley is the author of “The Emperor Has No Hard Hat – Achieving REAL Safety Results” and “Creating & Maintaining a Practical Based Safety Culture”. He’s the president of Safety Results Ltd., a Sherwood Park, Alberta, OHS consulting company. You can reach him at aquilley@ safetyresults.ca or through his Safety Blog – http://safetyresults.wordpress.com.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below