An early 20th century innovator studying accident causation, Herbert Heinrich came to conclusions that still impact our approach today. His studies showed that among the 27,000 cases he reviewed, 88 percent of accidents on the job were committed or influenced by co-workers, 10 percent were caused by unsafe conditions, and 2 percent were simply unavoidable.
Heinrich also observed that for every accident with a major injury in the workplace, there were on average 29 accidents with minor injuries, and a further 300 accidents that caused no injury. Today we translate that to 1 lost time recordable accident, 29 first aid attended accidents, and 300 near misses. To some people, Heinrich's work lends to the idea of a behavior based safety theory, which proposes that most accidents, (95%), are caused by unsafe acts initiated by human factors. This philosophy reinforced management's idea that workers were the cause of accidents.
Despite the results of his theory, Heinrich, in his 1931 book, Industrial Accident Prevention, A Scientific Approach, postulated that regardless of the human interaction associated with the behavior of accidents, management and companies should not solely focus on the workers' responsibility in accidents. Heinrich stated, "No matter how strongly the statistical records emphasize personal faults or how imperatively the need for educational activity is shown, no safety procedure is complete or satisfactory that does not provide for the correction or elimination of physical hazards."

Based on the day and age that Heinrich conducted his research, a lot of his findings have been discounted today by some professionals. But, it did in fact lay the foundation for much of what has worked its way into place in today's work climate. Heinrich's work led to the fact that companies and management have an obligation to establish for its employee's a safe environment from which to start working, and that employees have a responsibility to work in a safe manner.

Heinrich associated his concept to dominos. His Domino theory states these five factors,
  • Ancestry, negative character traits can lead to inherited or acquired traits. This leads to,
  • Fault of person, whether from inherited or acquired traits the person can or will work in an unsafe manner. This then leads to,
  • Unsafe acts, these acts are performed by the being of the person. The person by association of the first two causes, will tend to act in an unsafe manner usually in association with a mechanical or physical item. This leads to,
  • Accident, these occur from the person engaging in an activity that leads to an object falling or moving. The accident then leads to an,
  • Injury, which is the condition a person is left in upon involvement of an accident. This may lead to lost time, recordable or near miss in the workplace.
Finally they will understand the concept that investing in health and safety today will offset potential costs in medical and litigious situations that could possibly arise from not adequately addressing these issues in the beginning.

By building an affective team companies present themselves in a positive manner to their employees, customers, industry, and the world. By working to make the workplace safe, employees and customers are made to feel confident and valued to perform at their highest levels.