Heinrich’s Fourth Dimension
Robert L. Collins
DOI: 10.4236/ojsst.2011.11003   PDF    HTML     10,131 Downloads   19,761 Views   Citations


In this article, the author uses accident data readily available from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to create a New Incident Pyramid, a modern day equivalent of Heinrich’s Triangle. This historical data is then combined with generally accepted statistical methods to show that the relationship between incident types first envisioned by Herbert William Heinrich in 1931 has a fourth dimension, time. Using statistical analysis methods derived from both a Binomial distribution and a Poisson distribution, this analysis will show how information derived from these accident summaries can be used to predict potential future events. The obvious conclusion reinforced by this analysis will be that the future date for potentially fatal accidents can only be delayed by focusing on accident prevention strategies that address all incidents without regard for the type of resulting injury. This analysis can be used by safety professionals to predict potential future outcomes for their establishments which can then be used to better communicate the need for improvements in accident prevention programs.

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R. Collins, "Heinrich’s Fourth Dimension," Open Journal of Safety Science and Technology, Vol. 1 No. 1, 2011, pp. 19-29. doi: 10.4236/ojsst.2011.11003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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[3] Rosner, Bernard. 2010. Fundamentals of Biostatistics. Pacific Grove, Calif: Brooks/Cole.
[4] United States. 1982. BLS Handbook of Methods. Washington: The Bureau.
[5] McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms. 2003. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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