Herbert W. Heinrich was a pioneering work-related safety researcher, who 1931 publication Industrial Accident Prevention: A scientific Approach was based on the evaluation of big amounts the accident data gathered by his employer, a big insurance company. This work, which continued for an ext than thirty years, figured out causal factors of industrial crashes including “unsafe plot of people” and “unsafe mechanical or physics conditions”.

You are watching: Based on modern accident causation model

Heinrich is most well known for originating the ide of the “safety pyramid”. He additionally developed the “five domino model” that accident causation, a sequential accident model which has actually been prominent on occupational safety thinking. His “domino theory” represents an accident sequence together a causal chain that events, stood for as dominos that topple in a chain reaction. The fall of the very first domino leader to the loss of the second, adhered to by the third, etc.,A similar analogy was in use in political geography theory throughout the Cold War, speculating the if one country “fell” come communism, then surrounding countries could quickly follow. This domino theory was used by the US administration to justification the need for American intervention in assorted parts that the world. as portrayed below.

The domino design of accident causation, as portrayed by H. Heinrich in the 1950 edition of his publication Industrial Accident Prevention: A scientific Approach

Heinrich observed the occurrence of a “preventable injury” together the culmination that a series of events that form a sequence, comparable to a heat of dominos placed so the the toppling the a an initial domino knocks under the next, which renders the third fall down, and so on till the whole row is toppled. If this series is interrupted through the removed of even one that the several components that comprise it, the injury will certainly not occur, as portrayed in the figure below:

Accident avoidance by interrupting the accident sequence, native the 1950 edition of the book Industrial Accident Prevention: A scientific Approach

In the very first version of this model, published in 1931, the five components identified were:

domino 1: ancestry and also the worker’s society environment, which impact the worker’s skills, beliefs and also “traits of character”,Heinrich created that “Recklessness, stubbornness, avariciousness, and also other undesirable traits of character might be happen along with inheritance”. This sort of id is not very different from that hosted by supporters of eugenics. And thus the method in which they do tasks

domino 2: the worker’s carelessness or an individual faults, which lead them come pay insufficient attention to the task (see box around “accident-proneness” theory)

domino 3: an unsafe action or a mechanical/physical hazard, such as a worker error (standing under exposed loads, starting machinery without warning…) or a technical devices failure or insufficiently protected machinery

domino 4: the accident

domino 5: injuries or loss, the consequences of the accident

“Accident-proneness” theory

During the period 1920–1960, a variety of industrial psychologists put forward a theory that specific workers are much more “accident-prone” 보다 others (they are more likely than others to sustain accidents, also though exposed to equal risk) . Some human being working in high-risk markets still hold this belief. However, research since the 1960s mirrors that this theory has tiny validity. Some population categories execute tend to have more accidents 보다 others (for instance, young male drivers tend to have much more car crashes than larger — more experienced — drivers), however these factors problem a category of civilization (age, level that experience, level that education, because that example) rather than a certain individual. Organizational and workplace components have a greater impact on the incident of crashes than components related to the individual. Finally, any type of theory concerning mishaps that leader to the assignment of reprimand on individuals has many an unfavorable side-effects for safety, such as encouraging defensive reactions by individuals that strongly mitigate the reporting and also sharing of security information. For these reasons, “accident-proneness” concept is not a advantageous concept for safety and security management.

Over time, the idea that attributing workplace behaviour to ancestry and to ingrained an individual faults was uncovered to be inappropriate, and an ext recent execution of the model replace the labelling the the first two dominos by elements related to planning, work-related organization and leadership, or an ext generally management’s regulate of organizational components of safety.

This concept of accident causation was later on further arisen by frank Bird, who boosted the summary of managerial “dominos”, and also who generalized the critical “accident” domino to cover any type of loss (lost production, damage to equipment or other assets, and not just injuries).


This linear accident model is basic and straightforward to understand. Contrasted with the very simplistic analyses that were usual at the time (“accident resulted in by worker error”), it assisted managers to think around and determine underlying causal components that could add to accidents. That is promise of enabling the interruption of the accident sequence by acting on basic causal components (“pulling out a domino”) help to convince human being to adopt the corrective actions suggested by the accident investigation.

However, the model can add to a emphasis on the search for culprits or world to blame in the accident sequence, fairly than top top a comprehensive understanding of all the determinants that might have added to the accident. It encourages an interpretation of workplace safety and security in which workers as viewed as generators the accidents, fairly than as human being who do their best to operation imperfect systems as well as possible given every the contending demands.

See more: Famous Soccer Players With Number 14 ? Famous Soccer Player Numbers


The domino version is extensively seen this day as gift too simplistic to it is in a valuable tool to aid understand the causal components of accidents:

It leader to one excessively an easy view of the donation of person performance come accidents, and to a focus on training and procedural compliance (including “behaviour-based safety” programmes), fairly than on mechanism design, workload and also incentives.

It adopts a purely linear and mechanical version of causality, i beg your pardon is unreasonable in facility systems where crashes are generally caused by numerous interacting, partly competing and unpredictable factors. (“Complex equipment fail in complex ways” is a advantageous tagline.)

Burnham, john C. 2008. The syndrome that accident proneness (Unfallneigung): Why psychiatrists go not embrace and medicalize it. Background of Psychiatry 19(3):251–274. based on modern accident causation model