The Great Heinrich Hoax

The Great Heinrich Hoax

heinrick accident prevention

Perhaps the greatest evidence that Safety is not a profession is the acceptance by the industry of hoaxes and myths. There is no greater hoax in the safety industry than the myth that injury data or injury rates have any connection at all to causality or the management of risk. Yet despite this the safety texts and WHS curriculum remain focused on Heinrich’s pyramid and the mythology that minor injuries are an indication of an escalation of unsafety and the likelihood that a major injury is just around the corner.

When speaking to Greg Smith it is clear that the notion of injury rates is never raised in court and is not considered (in any way) as evidence of safety.

21. ROOT CAUSE from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.

What is worse, the maintenance of keeping injury data is not benign, it creates a socialpsychological belief in the industry that counting has some relevance and is an indicator of something. So Safety creates a false belief and then ingrains the false belief with the symbol of pyramids, curves and matrices ( ). Again, all of these symbols of counting and numerical gymnastics have no standing as a defence in court, neither do they offer any evidence that critical risks are being managed.

18. DIAGNOSIS from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.

The last thing I want to do is draw attention to the pyramid itself or the numeric ratios, so I won’t have a picture of Heinrich’s Pyramid in this blog. But you will find Heinrich’s Pyramid everywhere and clearly endorsed by the SIA’s accreditation process and its endorsement of training facilities attached to its notion of professionalization. So the SIA in not being vocal on this issue actually endorse the mythology of the industry and then have no voice against the ‘noise’ of the regulators and ceos who mythically request more ‘nonsense as incense’ in the church of safety. Hudson makes it clear that a calculative culture is dangerous.

Unless, there is some reform of the WHS curriculum ( the industry will never become professional and despite all the spin of professionalism socially maintains this faith-belief in the efficacy of injury data and ratios.

So the curricula, universities, RTOs and the peak bodies are all a part of the social amplification of risk associated with the mythical counting injury data. Rather than ‘tackling’ Real Risk ( the industry maintains consumed in the counting of LTIs and TRIFR rates as meaningful and therefore amplifies the counting of nonsense. If anything, the counting of injury data and associated matrices and pyramids demonstrates a lack of Due Diligence.

4. DUE DILIGENCE from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.

If you want to learn more about the challenges of the Social Amplification of Risk then the final public unit from the Centre for Leadership and Learning in Risk ( is being offered in Brisbane on 18,19,20 October.

Social Amplification of Risk Workshop 18,19,20 October 2017 – Brisbane

Forward Notice for Non- Australian Students for Online Studies

Due to overwhelming demand from risk and safety people in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe, I will be announcing in October the full Online Certificate and Diploma in the Social Psychology of Risk with the Centre for Leadership and Learning in Risk.

Whilst recognizing some of the ineffectiveness of online learning and in a trade-off for relational learning this will at least give to the many who have requested it an option to study with Dr Long and his team. There will be an announcement on the Safetyrisk blog and in the next CLLR Newsletter.



Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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