Why investigate the small stuff?


Eliminating the smaller stuff prevents the bigger stuff, that’s the bottom line.  Heinrich’s accident pyramid model (1), also known as Heinrich’s Law, was developed from his work in the insurance industry in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  The model estimates that for every major injury that occurs within an organization, there are 300 accidents without injuries. Transport Canada (2) has indicated that for every serious or disabling injury in an organization, there are 600 previous safety deficiencies and minor incidents that may or may not have been reported. Others have theorized that for every major accident, there are as many as 3,000 risky behaviours occurring within an organization. Fatigue can increase those risky behaviours.

Although the ratios vary, a review of accident statistics would show that there are far more smaller accidents and risky behaviours than major accidents.  Many of the relatively minor issues ultimately lead to major accidents. Preventing these smaller accidents and risky behaviours can have a beneficial impact on more serious accidents. Performing a fatigue risk assessment can efficiently and effectively reduce serious accidents by identifying and then reducing the fatigue related risks within an organization.


(1)     Heinrich, H.W. (1931). Industrial accident prevention: A scientific approach. McGraw-Hill.
(2)     Transport Canada (2004) Safety Management Systems for Small Aviation Operations – A Practical Guide To Implementation (TP14135E), ISBN: 0-662-37996-9