•Safety pyramids date back more than 80 years. Some interesting discussion exists on whether H.W. Heinrich’s safety pyramid has meaning today. Some follow the pyramid and its ratios with zeal, basing entire safety systems around them. Others question not only the ratios but the entire concept.
•The validity of these first safety pyramid ratios is doubtful, yet the original concept has been overlooked.
•Using ratios to measure and manage an organization’s safety performance is an old idea that may still have merit.
In the safety and health field, no image is more imprinted than the pyramid or triangle. The safety triangle has attained cult-like status since its introduction more than 80 years ago. It has been interpreted, reinterpreted and many have made it their own with custom modifications. The triangle became a three-dimensional pyramid and model of what safety is supposed to be all about.
The safety pyramid has a long history dating back to 1931 and H.W. Heinrich with his pioneering book Industrial Accident Prevention: A Scientific Approach; his image and concept have stood the test of time. Today, it is easy to find examples or variations of Heinrich’s triangle. There is some interesting discussion on whether it has any meaning today. Some follow the pyramid and its ratios with zeal, basing entire safety systems around it. Others question not only the ratios but the entire concept.
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