papers, blogs and other information



Safety history:

Swuste et al. 2010 paper that sheds light on the early safety movement:







Gullijk, Swuste


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Preventing Industrial Accidents. Reappraising H. W. Heinrich – More than Triangles and Dominoes

Link to the publisher's page:

Read some sections of the book online.

Read some of the feedback on the book.

Here you can find sections that had to be edited out of the final version of the book, but provide worthwhile enhancement.



Heinrich’s Local Rationality: Shouldn’t ‘New View’ Thinkers Ask Why Things Made Sense To Him? 

Here you can find a discussion of Heinrich's papers which was part of the literature research done for the thesis (and book). While they do not provide the actual papers, you can glimpse their contents and get some quotes along with some critique and reflections.



Busch, C. (2020) Myth Busting: De 88% van Heinrich. NVVK Info, 29 (1): 12-14.

An article that I wrote for the quarterly magazine of NVVK (Dutch society of safety science). 



Heinrich's Local Rationality - PDSC session 26 June 2020

Near misses - orgins, triangles and challenges. (18 December 2020)

The slides accompanying the podcast can be found here: 

Young NVVK -  Safety Forward - 20-01-2021

I give an introduction to Heinrich's work in Dutch from ca. 5 to 35 min. Will edit this when I find the time.

Safety Myth Busting: The 80 Percent Conclusion

Dealing critically with the 88:10:2 ratio:

Meet The Author

19 February 2021

Other stuff:

old reviews/summaries 


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This page collects material that most likely influenced Heinrich in his thinking about safety.


The 1931 Bibliography

Beyer, D.S. (1916) Industrial Accident Prevention. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Find the book online (and download if you fancy):

Here is a very positive review from when it came out:

My own summary/discussion of the source: 

Beyer also wrote an interesting paper on the early years of safety:

Beyer, D.S. (1917) Accident Prevention. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 70, Modern Insurance Problems: 238-243.

Cowee, G.A. (1916) Practical Safety Methods and Devices. Manufacturing and Engineering. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company.

Read and download the book online:

Swuste et al. discuss Cowee and his contemporaries in their informative 2010 paper that sheds light on the early safety movement:

My own summary/discussion of the source: 

Ashe, S.W. (1917) Organization in Accident Prevention. New York: McGraw-Hill.

A digital version is available for online reading, and download:

My own summary/discussion of the source:

Lange, F.G. (1926) Handbook of Safety and Accident Prevention. New York: The Engineering Magazine Company.

At this moment no digital version appears to be available online. But you can find a review online:

Hayhurst, E.R. (1926) Handbook of Safety and Accident Prevention. American Journal of Public Health and the Nations Health, 16(7): 730–731.

My own summary/discussion of the source:

DeBlois, L.A. (1926) Industrial Safety Organization for Executive and Engineer. New York: McGraw-Hill.

You can read the book online - and download it:

My own summary/discussion of the source:

Williams, S.J. (1927) The Manual of Industrial Safety. Chicago & New York: A.W. Shaw Company.

At this moment no digital version appears to be available online, and getting an original copy is next to impossible...

My own summary/discussion of the source:


Fisher, E.B. (1922) Mental Causes of Accidents. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Read the book online or download it:

Review by Sidney J. Williams:, or

There is another (long) review by G.F. Mischelbacher here (on page 57):

My own summary/discussion of the source:

Chase, S. (1929) Men And Machines. New York: The MacMillan Company.

Find the book online:

My own summary/discussion of the source:

Dow, M.A. (1928) Stay Alive! In Which Jim the Truckman gently kicks the Drivin’ Fools and Walkin’ Yaps. New York: Marcus Dow Publishers.

Not available online, and hard to find.

Slocombe, C.S. & Bingham, W.V. (1927) Men Who Have Accidents: Individual Differences Among Motormen and Bus Operators. Personnel Journal, 6: 251–257.

I managed to find this paper here: 

Safety Institute of America (1920) Safety Fundamentals. New York: Safety Institute of America.

These can be read and downloaded here: 




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placeholder to discuss themes and evolution of stuff



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Heinrich's original work is not easy to find with his books out of print for several decades. However, some can be found online and hopefully more will be accessible in the future. Below you will find links to some of the original texts by Heinrich that are to be found on the web.

The numbering of sources corresponds to the referencing in my book.

Heinrich, H.W. (1927b) Incidental Cost of Accidents to the Employer. Monthly Labor Review, 25 (2): 46-50. 

Heinrich, H.W. (1929c) Relation Of Accident Statistics To Industrial Accident Prevention. Proceedings of the Casualty Actuarial Society 1929-1930: 170-174. 

Heinrich, H.W. (1930a) The Foreman's Responsibility for Accidents. Monthly Labor Review, 30 (2): 83-88. 

Heinrich, H.W. (1930c) Cost of Industrial Accidents to the State, the Employer, and the Man. Monthly Labor Review, 31 (5): 72-87. 

Heinrich, H.W. (1941) Industrial Accident Prevention (second edition). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Heinrich, H.W. (1944) Basics of Supervision. New York: Alfred M. Best Company. 

Heinrich, H.W. (1949) Formula for Supervision: Outlining the Application of Supervisory Control to Secure, Safe, Efficient Work Performance. New York: National Foremen’s Institute, Inc. 

ASME (1947) Form for Use in Self-Appraisal of Industrial Plants. New York: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  


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Here is the contents of If You Can't Measure It - Maybe You Shouldn't:

  1. Measuring, why and how
  2. Measuring what?
  3. Safety First?
  4. Measurement: Beware
  5. Preventable Accidents…
  6. If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It
  7. Constructs
  8. Zero S.M.A.R.T.
  9. Correlation or Causation?
  10. Injury Rates Tell How Well You Do
  11. Surrogates or the Real Deal?
  12. Who Are We Gonna Hurt Today?
  13. The More Data, the Better
  14. Red = Bad
  15. Forget SMART. Go Fuzzy
  16. Intervention, NOW!
  17. Ups and Downs: What Accident Statistics can tell us
  18. Causal Confusion
  19. Zero, Zero, Nothing: A Vision with Zero Need of Zero-Goals
  20. You Can Manage What You Measure - But Does It Help?
  21. Green Reports, Red Talks
  22. The Relevance of Outcomes
  23. Sifting through SIF
  24. Lies, Damn Lies, and…
  25. Zero Harm: Occupational Disease
  26. Only Leading Indicators Needed
  27. Safety Incentive Schemes
  28. Benchmarking Is Good for Safety
  29. Alternatives and Suggestions
  30. Further Reading

Now available:


Dutch version: Veiligheidsfabels 1-2-3


CAUTION: Reading this book or parts thereof may

seriously harm your professional beliefs and habits


From the back cover:

The Safety Profession has a problem. Over the past decades, it has been a fertile feeding ground for Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings.

Pyramids, dominos, ratios, certification, zeros, absolutes, rules, audits, positive mind-set, culture change, observation schemes, checklists, best practices, slogans, Safety First, errors, root causes and risk matrices. You name it and someone will probably have twisted it into something that it should not be, through mechanisms like: visions-turned-goals, tools out of context, black and white thinking, means-becoming-the-goal, rituals without proper understanding, correlation instead of causation or belief in Silver Bullets.

This book collects 123 (and then some) of these Safety Myths. Crisp and compact discussions address weaknesses of conventional safety ‘wisdom’ and give suggestions for alternative approaches and improvement.

The author mixes over two decades of professional experience, theory, practice, anecdotes, examples, and not in the last place humour, into a very readable and easy to understand different view on safety.

To see the contents and a quick overview, go to the Contents Page.

To see what others thought about the book, find a selection on the Feedback Page.

An Erratum is available that also includes many of the illustrations of the book in colour and larger size.
Download the Erratum here.


Order from

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Order from CreateSpace.

Kindle edition from

Recently, I had the pleasure to have a conversation about safety, myths and more with Jeff Dalto from Covergence Training. 

Jeff did a wonderful job transcribing the whole hour and put it out on the Convergence website.

Watch and read it here:

We are proud to present the Dutch, adapted version of Safety Myth 101. Vakmedianet did a fabulous job and it has become a very book of its own, thanks to the contents (that has changed through language) and through the smashing layout.

Find an extremely positive review of the book on, Sigma and Or the blog on ManagementImpact.

New review on Arbobekwaam.

Get it from the publisher, Vakmedianet, or for example from online bookstore

Review from Health and Safety at Work

Review from NVVK Info 2016/04

Review by Greg Morse

Review from Tijdschrijft voor Toegepaste Arbowetenschappen

Review from Lusa-One by Anders Ellerstrand

Below a selection from the overwhelmingly positive feedback on the book:

“A book like this one should be on each manager desk. It will help implementing safety culture and in the same time managers will understand how important is safety and the benefits.”

“Gathering new ideas, and experience of implemented ideas. So much input is hidden inside.”

“Easy understandable for non-safety people.”

“Buy two copies! Give one to your boss and then get ready to finally let go of some of the Myths of Safety and actually start CREATING SAFETY! Well done, Carsten, well done!”

“I originally wanted to read just one myth a day, but I found hard to put down…”

“An impressive range of topics.”

“I like the way you write about safety: positively and recognizable. Safety can be a nice subject to write about!”

“A book that needed to be done for a while. It will get people thinking.”

“It’s written very clearly and easy to understand. No need to have studied safety to understand. A must for every Safety Professional’s bookshelf.”

“Very accessible, even for laypersons.”

“A must read (very much including the footnotes). Takes courageously on longstanding safety myths and traditions in a most convincing manner while somehow not becoming a scold. An important and highly readable contribution to the safety literature.”

“The many examples (often taken from everyday life, others from work situations) make things easy to understand.”

“This is going to shake up the safety business quite a bit! That's a good thing!”

“Easy to understand, even for those who don’t read English every day.”

“One of the most important Safety Management related books published in the last decade. This is a must read for everyone who sincerely wants to improve Safety and not waste their collective time doing what simply doesn’t work.” 

“The great examples bring the book to life.”

“Safety Myths 101 has become my new favourite book. It was heartening to see myths being busted.”

“A perfect if you need to find a subject to talk about in a professional setting.”

“Carsten effectively takes on many basic safety traditions (e.g. the accident pyramid, all accidents are preventable) and myths that are standing in the way of safety progress. Not a book for those who resist being provoked to think outside the lines of tradition.”

“Thank you for doing this!”

“This should be required reading for all Safety Professionals and those that ply their wares to the industry. A bit of balance to the desire to compartmentalise everything and slap on a label, perpetuating the illusion of control.”


Safety Myth 101: A Quick Overview

The book contains seven chapters, some of these divided into sub-chapters. The chapters and sub-chapters are collections of Myths that are loosely related and all deal with the subject of the (sub)-chapter. 

The Myths are discussions of a subject or of a couple of related subjects. These discussions are as compact as possible, taking between one and four pages. To keep things compact, some points or comments have been placed in endnotes. This is information that is important (or at least interesting, or sometime just funny), but not essential for the point to be made. You do not need to read endnotes to get the point, but you might miss some goodies.

Most chapters contain additional material in the form of columns that are placed in shaded text boxes. These columns are typically reflections related to the chapter’s subject.

Each chapter comes with a section with recommendations for further reading (including brief reviews/summaries of the mentioned books) and, as mentioned, a section with endnotes.


Introduction: Houston, We Have a Problem

Why Are Things the Way They Are?

What Can Be Done?


I: General issues


Myth 1. Safety Is about Absence of Accidents

Myth 2. Safety Means Absence of Risk

Myth 3. Safety Is Black and White

Myth 4. Safety Is Something You Have

Myth 5. Hazards Are Undesirable

Myth 6. Safety and Security Are Two Different Things

Language and Communication

Myth 7. Language Doesn’t Matter

Myth 8. Difficult Jargon Demonstrates Competence

Myth 9. As Simple as Possible

Myth 10. Absolutes Are a Sign of Clear and Firm Communication

Myth 11. Slogans Are a Great Way to Enhance Safety

Myth 12. Culture and Resilience are Just Buzzwords

Column: Safety Behaviour Language between the Lines

Common Sense?

Myth 13. Common Sense Is Just Common Sense

Myth 14. Safety Is Just Common Sense?

Myth 15. Don’t You Have Any Common Sense?


Myth 16. Models Are to Be Understood Literally

Myth 17. Causation Is Correlation

Myth 18. Follow the Crowd

Myth 19. The Application Is the Method

Myth 20. Research Explains Itself


II: The Safety Professional

Myth 21. You Are a Bad Safety Professional if…

Myth 22. Safety Professional’s Behaviour Is Superhuman

Myth 23. Save the World!

Myth 24. Judging Safety Professionals by Preventing Accidents

Myth 25. Safety Stat Accountability

Myth 26. Authority to STOP

Myth 27. The Safety Pro’s Prime Responsibility Is Safety

Myth 28. The Safety Pro Has All the Answers

Myth 29. No Need to Read Professional Literature

Myth 30. Sticking to Safety

Myth 31. You Know Nothing, Jon Snow

Myth 32. Being Out There

Myth 33. Safety Cops

Myth 34. Diplomas Make Good Safety Professionals

Myth 35. Accidental Safety Experts

Myth 36. Humour Has No Place in Safety


III: Safety Management & More

Myth 37. The PDCA Cycle Was Invented by Deming

Myth 38. Surely PPE Will Keep You Safe?

Myth 39. Management and Leadership Are the Same Thing

Myth 40. Safety Can Be Managed Separately

Myth 41. Compliance Is What We Need

Myth 42. Sanction-Enhanced Safety

Myth 43. Safety Rules Are for Safety Only

Myth 44. Golden Rules

Myth 45. ISO Certification Ensures Controlling Your Risks

Myth 46. Copy a Safety Program That Works

Myth 47. The More Safety Measures, the Better

Myth 48. Silver Bullets

Myth 49. The 1 : 29 : 300 Ratio

Myth 50. Heinrich’s Pyramid Is about Causation

Myth 51. Normal Accident Theory Is the Opposite of HRO

Myth 52. Observation Programs Create Safety

Myth 53. Safe and Unsafe Behaviour

Myth 54. Be Careful!

Myth 55. Mistakes Are Bad

Myth 56. Safety Is a Choice

Myth 57. Check/Study = Audit

Myth 58. Absolutes Make Great Audit Criteria

Myth 59. Disorder Is the Natural Enemy of Safety

Myth 60. Management of Change = Change Management?


IV: Culture

Myth 61. We Have Been Doing This for 30 Years

Myth 62. Safety Culture = Following Safety Rules

Myth 63. A Positive Mind-Set Is Necessary to Create Safety

Myth 64. Toilets Tell about Culture

Myth 65. Safety Culture Must be Changed

Myth 66. Culture Change Is a Top-Down Process

Myth 67. Safety Culture Certification

Myth 68. Safety Is Everybody’s Responsibility


V: Measuring Safety, Goals and Indicators

Myth 69. If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It

Myth 70. Safety First!

Myth 71. Injury Rates Tell How Well You Are Doing at Safety

Myth 72. Our Goal Must Be Zero!

Myth 73. No Zero Harm Goal? You Plan to Hurt People!

Myth 74. Incentive Schemes Improve Safety

Myth 75. One Needs Only Leading Indicators

Myth 76. Three Incidents?! We MUST Have Actions!

Myth 77. The More Data, the Better

Myth 78. Benchmarking Is Good for Safety

Myth 79. Red = Bad

Column: Zero Harm Is an Occupational Disease


VI: Incidents, Accidents and their Causes

Myth 80. All Accidents Are Preventable

Myth 81. ‘Acts of God’ Are No Accidents

Myth 82. Shit Happens?

Myth 83. People Are the Problem

Myth 84. The 88: 10: 2 Ratio

Myth 85. Heinrich’s Dominos? Really?

Myth 86. Accidents Happen Like a String Of Dominos Tumbling

Myth 87. Accident-prone, Anyone?

Myth 88. No Causes Needed for Corrective Action

Myth 89. The Accident Board Investigates. We Don’t Have To!

Myth 90. Incidents not Worth Reporting

Myth 91. Investigation until the Root Cause

Myth 92. Labelling Causes Is Useful

Myth 93. THE Cause

Myth 94. Management Causes

Myth 95. Non-Compliance Equals Cause

Myth 96. All Accidents Are Complex Non-linear Events

Myth 97. Could Have, Should Have…

Myth 98. We Can Only Learn from Things that Went Wrong

Myth 99. Causes, Conditions, Context and Confusion

Myth 100. Counting Causes Is Useful

Column: Five GREAT Reasons for Not Reporting Incidents


VII: Risk and Risk Assessment


Myth 101. Risk Must Be Eliminated

Myth 102. Risk Is only Probability and Consequence

Myth 103. Probability Is about Numbers

Myth 104. Risk and Uncertainty Are the Same

Myth 105. Probability Cannot Be Used for Security Events

Myth 106. Risk Is Determined Based on Objective Factors

Myth 107. Black Swans Are the Same as ‘Acts of God’

Myth 108. Worst Case Scenarios

Risk Assessment

Myth 109. Risk Assessments Can Be Done by Safety Pros Alone

Myth 110. Risk Assessments without Safety Professionals?

Myth 111. Risk Assessment Documents Are Huge Reports

Myth 112. Hazard Identification Is a Waste of Time

Myth 113. Only Our Imagination Limits…

Myth 114. Risk Assessments Are Time Consuming and Tedious

Myth 115. Risk Assessment by Checklist

Myth 116. Quantitative Risk Assessments Are so Much Better

Myth 117. Qualitative Assessments Are the Easy Way Out

Myth 118. Risk Acceptance Criteria

Myth 119. ALARP Is Only about Cost and Benefit

Myth 120. Multiplying Equals Quantitative Risk Assessment

Myth 121. Qualitative Risk Assessments Equal Risk Matrices

Myth 122. Risk Assessment and Decision Making

Myth 123. LMRA

Column: 12 Do’s for Risk Assessments


Back to the Safety Myth 101 main page.

The following Mind The Risk books are available:



Safety Myth 101

If You Can't Measure It - Maybe You Shouldn't

Preventing Industrial Accidents (published through Routledge/Taylor & Francis)

The First Rule of Safety Culture



Veiligheidsfabels 1-2-3 (published through Vakmedianet)



Se Você Não Consegue Medir... Talvez Você Não Deva


CAUTION: Reading these books or parts thereof may

seriously harm your professional beliefs and habits


© Copyright

For contact, inquiries or comments on posted articles, please drop a line at info (at)


Mind The Risk is all about continuous improvement.

About the name...

There are many facets to the name. Just skimming the surface:

  • A nice play on words with a safety-related topic.
  • A link to the rail business where we (among others) come from.
  • The concept of Risk is central in all elements of HSEQ - positive AND negative.
  • Mindfulness (cf. Weick) is one way of handling risk.
  • It hints at the psychological aspects of safety.

Right now Mind The Risk is only a portal for sharing information within the
field of HSEQ through regular blogs and reflections, sharing information on
relevant professional literature and sharing (own) publications.

In due time, we consider offering services to customers in need of support
and consultancy. These will include among others the following:

  • Risk assessments
  • HSEQ related training, including
    • risk assessment
    • incident investigation/learning from incidents
    • KPIs, indicators
    • general HSEQ management
  • HSEQ related consultation
  • Incident investigation
  • Management systems
  • Leading and lagging indicators
  • Incident and HSEQ information systems
  • Best practice
  • Auditing

All of this can be delivered in a variety of languages - we're fluent in at least four
(English, Dutch, German and Norwegian/Scandinavian)

Don't be shy to ask!

Welcome to Mind The Risklogo

We are an independent allround knowledge base in the field of HSEQ
with over two and a half decades of experience in various settings to show for. 

After many years of working with the HEACH website (now alas down)
and HEACH blog, we considered it was time to take the next step...

Meanwhile, we progressed and wrote/published a series of safety books,
including Safety Myth 101 and The First Rule of Safety Culture.
Check out the details here.


© Copyright





What is Mind The Risk?logo

Mind The Risk is an allround knowledge transfer and consultancy service within
HSEQ (occupational health, safety, environmental care and quality management).

Experience and expertise includes professional training, risk assessment, incident
investigation, learning from incidents, auditing, developing and implementing
management systems, developing leading and lagging indicators, safety culture
related activities, and much more.

Who is behind Mind The Risk?

Mind The Risk was created by Carsten Busch. Carsten is an experienced HSEQ
manager (registered with the Dutch Society of Safety Science) who has gathered
over two decades of international experience on various levels in organizations within
transportation, industry, oil and gas and government. Carsten is fluent in at least four 
English, Dutch, German and Norwegian/Scandinavian.

Check the 'press and recommendations' link from the About us menu above for
more information.


Please select the 'contact' link from the About us menu above.