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Meet the Author with Carsten Busch: Preventing Industrial Accidents

By Tamara Parris
Published: February 24, 2021
Key Takeaways

We had an amazing discussion with Author Carsten Busch! We discussed his book “Preventing Industrial Accidents Reappraising H. W. Heinrich – More than Triangles and Dominoes” with co-host Gary Wong.

We had an amazing discussion with Author Carsten Busch! We discussed his book “Preventing Industrial Accidents Reappraising H. W. Heinrich – More than Triangles and Dominoes” with co-host Gary Wong.


This book is the first to deal with the work and legacy of Herbert Heinrich as a whole, based on a unique richness of material and approaching the matter from several (new) angles. It also reflects on Heinrich’s relevance for today’s safety science and practice.

Also up for discussion is the credibility of Safety science. As a social science, does it suffer from the replication crisis that started 10 years ago in Psychology? Book purchase:


00:39:04Travis Robertson:Everyone wants to be on a special list.
00:40:45Michael:pork scratchings
00:40:51Travis Robertson:No eating for me. Drinking a good strong coffee
00:40:54Elisa Lynch:Bannoffi pie
00:40:57Chris Watcham:Pistachio nuts
00:41:00Diane C:afternoon tea
00:41:03Joe Drago:Coffee
00:41:06Anders Ellerstrand:Soon making a pie - in Sweden!
00:41:09Mike Phillips:Coffee
00:41:11Martijn:Hungry, but waiting for dinner until after this interview!
00:41:26Gordon Foot:Pot noodle sat in quarantine in Taiwan. It is just past midnight
00:42:10Tanya Hewitt:Hi everyone from Ottawa Ontario Canada
00:42:15Bruce OBrien:Espresso. Lunch is next.
00:42:27Paul Daly:Hi all, looking forward to the chat...
00:42:29arun garg:Hi Everyone
00:42:38Chris Watcham:Live from Liverpool UK
00:43:14Tanya Hewitt:I am coming from the unceded territory of the Algonquin and Anishnaabe nations.
00:48:36Paul Daly:Lack of curiosity to follow up on the original work!? Accessibility has to factor in also I suppose.
00:51:35Tanya Hewitt:And there is nothing wrong with science - where models help describe the world, and get revised over time. The problem is when we attack models that served a purpose in their era - and that we hold ont models that are not helpful any longer. Imagine how we would be dealing with this pandemic if we still believed in bodily humors and ether. We are always allowed to get better.
00:53:14Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:We often blame folks for how their ideas are misused by others.
00:53:23Paul Daly:'For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong' comes to mind...
00:53:47Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Paul Daly, 'Xactly
00:53:56David deJong:Haha great one Paul
00:54:17Spiros Lenis:@Paul Whelp, stealing that!
00:55:09Tanya Hewitt:We tend to live in our time (which is not surprising), but cannot see works in the time they were written, which is the only fair position from which to judge. It is using the local rationality principle to ourselves. I loved when Carsten brought this up (in a different setting)!
00:56:35Gordon Walsh:Agree Tanya, arm chair commentary is easy work compared to solving a problem in real time.
00:57:41Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Gordon Walsh, Yes, but with the internot, it is not just easy and fun, it is a path to profit.
00:57:57Tanya Hewitt:Context counts - always. We need to remember this.
00:58:45Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Tanya +100
00:59:01Tanya Hewitt:@Bill ;)
00:59:27James MacPherson:People getting annoyed on linkedin…..nope never seen it!
01:00:02Chris Watcham:LinkedIn should come with a breathalyser
01:00:42Tanya Hewitt:This of course isn't limited to Heinrich - there is a much larger societal discussion - taking down statues, renaming institutions, for example.
01:01:20Andy Stevenson:“The future of the safety movement is not so much dependent upon the invention of safety devices as on the improvement of methods of educating people to the ideal of caution and safety.” - Walter Dill Scott
01:01:38Tanya Hewitt:Distance through differencing - wonderful concept - and very helpful.
01:01:44Tamara Parris:Please let us know if you want to make a comment or add a question .
01:02:47Paul Daly:
01:02:54Paul Daly:Nice little video...
01:03:20Tanya Hewitt:When this was taught to me, it is an error for a reason - it is stronger than a bias. The fundamental attribution ERROR is very strong. The most significant contribution of social psychology.
01:03:25Tamara Parris:Thank you Paul!
01:03:56Spiros Lenis:I always find the argument that this is not new to be specious, since A) how does that discount the work being conducted, and B) if we were operating with these principles already, we wouldn't be needing these conversations or outreach regarding these old new views
01:04:24Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Spiros, YES
01:04:27Mike Phillips:Good point, Spiros!
01:05:12Travis Robertson:@Spiros. Well said!
01:05:22Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:Also, it is not the same as when Hollywood rehashes old movies and tv shows, we are saying, Hey this is valid!
01:05:42Tanya Hewitt:We do not question our own environment - our own decisions - our own context - nearly enough. This is what a lot of "new view" is trying to get us to do.
01:07:28Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Tanya +1000
01:07:38James MacPherson:What's the likelihood in 10-20 years they will be calling Safety 2, HOP, resilience etc stupid and the future Carsten will be teaching them all local rationality again?????
01:07:53Rosa Carrillo:When you do find originals they are hundreds of dollars
01:09:04Tanya Hewitt:That's a fascinating viewpoint, @James. Simon Sinek, Brene Brown have been trying to get us to look at the long game - beyond ourselves. This perspective can try to get us to focus more on the best answer we can give, rather than our interpretation.
01:09:24Bruce OBrien:I just looked up Libraries. There are 8 copies within 10 miles of Boston.
01:10:24Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:He said Tardis, Everybody Drink
01:10:52James MacPherson:I don't have my bingo sheet!
01:11:03Martijn:Considering our biases: Another nice book to read is "Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me..."
01:11:07Joel Péclard:Reading a second source by an author who stresses the importance of primary sources should be a good strategy.
01:11:47Tanya Hewitt:Fabulous @Joel - thanks for sharing!
01:12:19James MacPherson:Cheers Carsten, gutted I missed the start sounds good!!
01:13:34Spiros Lenis:@James It's also a question of whether their work fits the future as well. As science and society progresses, the context in which we work changes with it. Perhaps the studies under the "New View" umbrella won't make sense then, or it paved the way for the "New New View." New View^2
01:14:13James MacPherson:yeah great point!!
01:14:22Tanya Hewitt:I have a talk on safety theories - and I start with Taylorism. I did considerable work to describe what daily life was like in 1910 - just so that people can understand the context where these all too familiar concepts were generated. I think this is important. It helps shed light on the context.
01:14:30Gary Wong:How credible is safety science? How much of the research is pseudoscience?
01:14:53James MacPherson:I like John Green talks about safety as a ever evolving thing (like science) its is constantly proving itself wrong,
01:15:00arun garg:evidence based research is needed in safety
01:15:14Marina Parkin’s iPad (2):kcurious to know who on this chat is regularly in physical workplaces
01:15:30Tanya Hewitt:Evidence based research is needed for science.
01:15:35Spiros Lenis:@Tanya, definitely! The context of the first industrial revolution is massively different than the third or fourth industrial revolution
01:15:52Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:I spend 50 hours a week or so at a large project site
01:15:53Martijn:@gary, depends who you ask, I guess. But, I like Drew Rae's Manifesto for Reality-Based Safety, like Tanya says as well.
01:16:01Joe Drago:Agree more research is warranted.
01:16:31Tanya Hewitt:Agree wholeheartedly @Martijn
01:17:03arun garg:@gary the safety is mixed up between theory and practicality
01:17:28Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:I can't raise my hand
01:17:36mike.ruan[email protected]:I am Marina, across industries, around the world
01:17:41Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:I can do thumbs up
01:17:59Lars Sveding:Hi everyone and especially Carsten, I really enjoy the title of your book. It is a real statement - Preventing Industrial Accidents. Heinrich’s Industrial Accident Prevention has been misused or at least biased by a whole industry.
01:18:21Spiros Lenis:@Gary, its an interesting question. I don't know why, but I trust researchers from parent disciplines covering topics under their discipline more than safety scientists. But at the same time I don't necessarily trust that they are covering the necessary context of safety science research, if that makes sense? But again, that is based on nothing other than my personal biases
01:19:09arun garg:when procedures are not given importance then 747 max issues will crop up always
01:21:11Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:Or is the 747 Max issue based in flawed thinking about monetization and how to enhance profit? the engineer designed a valid solution, but someone decided to break it into parts for economic reasons
01:21:16Paul Daly:@Marina... I'm usually in physical workplaces most days (construction sites) and in virtual workplaces a bit more often lately like most! Is there a follow up question?
01:21:39Tanya Hewitt:I love what Carsten is saying now - it reminds me of Greta Thumberg stating most of us don't really understand what changes she sees we all collectively need to do.
01:22:10Martijn:@spiros, I agree. Research should both be grounded in the parent disciplines and be relevant for practice. Multi- or interdisciplinary science is a nice to have, but seemingly still to hard because of silos?
01:22:44James MacPherson:@Marina, I work for a trade association in the UK so post COVID I would be on site with members in manufacturing and construction site. Post this role, been in a few sectors but always on the road!
01:24:04Paul Daly:He was in Insurance... he is obviously evil!
01:24:16Tanya Hewitt:@Paul :)
01:24:33Spiros Lenis:@Martijn, one point that David Provan made in the SoW podcast stuck with me, that the Safety Sciences still rely on outdated research that parent disciplines have since moved on from, like culture vs organizational logics for example. I would imagine that would make things difficult to cross boundaries!
01:24:51Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Paul, I thunk AT&T was the Galactic Empire
01:25:59Martijn:@Spiros, exactly! The culture stuff especially. I know, because I'm in social sciences and my favorite article is Taming Prometheus by Susan Silbey which you can find online.
01:26:06Paul Daly:@Spiros... we are definitely not alone in that. I listened to a speaker lecturing about body language and he based everything on a 1960s psychology study that involved 32 subjects from an American university.
01:26:13Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:
01:26:44Tanya Hewitt:My daughter is taking psychology now - and she is learning about the file drawer problem, publication bias - in her courses! It's fantastic. It's not hidden anymore. We can deal with it once we can identify the problem.
01:27:11Andy Stevenson:Time for me to go train managers on incident reporting! Bye!
01:27:32Carsten:thanks for being here
01:27:32Paul Daly:Good luck Andy!
01:28:01Gordon Walsh:Everyone else's experiences
01:28:17Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Rosa, Because hanging out with Smart people might rub off, and I need to hear people talking sense for my emotional wellbeing
01:28:29Søren:studying human factors and system safety to gain more theoretical knowledge and this fits nicely
01:28:51Spiros Lenis:@Paul I think the safety sciences certainly face similar problems with pop psychology. Pop safety is prevalent, heck throw a rock at a blog post and I'm sure you'd hit one
01:28:52Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Soren, +100
01:29:05Paul Daly:Taking a break from blaming & retraining @Bill?
01:29:11Tanya Hewitt:Yes @Rosa - I like going to sessions like this to learn, to see different perspectives.
01:29:22Eduardo Campi:Rosa: Some fundamental understanding of what goes on at the sharp end and what to do towards "preventing accidents"
01:29:31Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Paul, Don't forget the shaming
01:29:43Paul Daly:That's a given!
01:29:56Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:Bill Stettiner puts the Blame and Shame in Safety
01:30:24Tanya Hewitt:There is as strong an argument in the Challenger Launch Decision. Diane Vaughan did a fabulous job.
01:30:25Paul Daly:Was that the guy who took off his Engineer's hat and put on his manager's hat... or am I mixing up my launches?
01:30:34arun garg:why do we have safety 1,2,3??
01:30:43Joe Drago:Safety is a value first. Safe workplace and concern for the environment is the driver. There is a cost benefit from doing the right things.
01:30:58Gery Daud:I did Bachelor of Educational Psychology. I am now training managers on Physical and Digital Protection thru my Psychology knowledge. I bet I help even preventing industrial accidents
01:31:12Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Arun, because all the good marketing people work in other fields
01:32:34Tanya Hewitt:"I need a death" this is so tragic. As Todd Conklin has been saying - we suck at learning.
01:33:00Gery Daud:We can't stop learning and to unlearn
01:33:07rachel:I work at the sharp end and I experience the disconnect between workers actual work v’s managements expectations and understanding. The human context is complex and if I can learn tools to bridge this successfully or partially its great. I am still curious and love what I do.
01:33:41Brooke Thomsen:I wanted to attend the discussion today to learn more about Heinrich's work and possibly learn a new perspective that could help me as I prepare and deliver safety trainings and coach/mentor others to be more effective safety leaders.
01:33:53Rosa Carrillo:@rachel I feel as you do. I also log learning.
01:34:03Travis Robertson:If we are not learning, we are dying.
01:34:31Bruce OBrien:HWH had a hammer. Insurance Rates….
01:34:43Spiros Lenis:@Gary, I will most likely butcher this, but I read a book on complexity and social systems, where they talked about the issue of replicability. Given our increased understanding of complexity thinking, we no longer have the means to take a reductionist mindset and apply it to a complex system and expect it to output a result as cleanly as you would see in the natural sciences. So in that sense, evidence-based science is becoming increasingly more difficult, at least until our computer modeling becomes sufficiently advanced
01:34:56Tanya Hewitt:A problem is our collective negative bias - I wrote about this on LinkedIn
01:35:00Spiros Lenis:And yes, I am super slow to respond :D
01:35:06Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:Not just a death, the person who died is important. If 1 person drives off a road, we make alterations. if 100 Marines die, we say it's horrible, but demand no process or environmental change
01:36:[email protected]:Paul. Yes, that is the guy. He may as well said, “I want you all now to get stupid”
01:36:46Joel Péclard:@Spiros good point. Is this perhaps why Provan and Rae said reality based Safety rather than "evidence based"?
01:36:53Tanya Hewitt:Love this @Gordon - I agree that energy is really important. We need a larger conversation about this.
01:37:32Gordon Walsh:Thank you for hosting folks and thank you Carsten. Look forward to the book.
01:37:34Spiros Lenis:Oops, just noticed the time! I have to dart, but great conversation everyone, and thanks Carsten for talking about your book!
01:37:48Spiros Lenis:Cheers all, catch you later :D
01:38:10Jim Marinus:Thank you Carsten
01:38:46Tanya Hewitt:Font line workers complete the design ...
01:39:02Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:Are we safety people, or process people?
01:39:03David deJong:I gotta go too, thanks a lot everybody!
01:39:11Tanya Hewitt:Front line (oops!)
01:39:42Travis Robertson:@Carsten. Thank you so much for your valuable time. Look forward to reading your book soon. Have a fantastic weekend everyone.
01:39:52Carsten:God helg!
01:40:15Dan Suess:"Seat Belts" "Machine Guarding" etc. - These are not used worldwide. Why not?
01:41:35Janice Fingler:Thank you !
01:41:42Joel Péclard:"Evidence based" is not unequivocally good imo. For doctors, at least here in Sweden, the demand for evidence based practice has constrained their professonal judgments.
01:42:04Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@Joel +100
01:42:18Tanya Hewitt:@Dan - this gets up against complexity very quickly - but it a very worthwhile question.
01:42:29Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:I can find evidence to support all kinds of wrong things
01:42:36Paul Daly:@Dan... Seat belts weren't welcomed with open arms either in this part of the world - worth a look on the history.
01:43:21Tanya Hewitt:Absolutely @Joel. We should be practicing epistemology more though - how do we know what we know. I think this could be asked far more.
01:44:06James MacPherson:@Bill- Blame Shame and Retrain" on the board behind you, that basically the tools I relied on for years...…...and got nowhere! lol Is that a new video you've done??
01:44:14Paul Daly:Very true @Tanya
01:44:34Paul Daly:We miss Bill's safety moments!
01:44:35Joel Péclard:@Tanya yes that's the question. What do we know and what don't we know - and why do we tend to overestimate the former.
01:44:37Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:@James, I'm working on an idea
01:45:13James MacPherson:nice..... I look forward to it!! sorry if me being nosey has broke the surprise!
01:45:17Dan Suess:Great session and discussion. Thanks to everyone!
01:45:20Paul Daly:Thanks everyone
01:45:29Dean:Thanks for Carsten
01:45:29Bill Stettiner, Safety Malcontent:Thanks Everyone
01:45:30Carsten:Thnaks everyone!
01:45:31Tanya Hewitt:Thanks everyone - fantastic session - both audio and in the chat!
01:45:32Nicola Walsh:Thanks Carsten :) "
01:45:38Bruce OBrien:Thanks everyone!

Our Guest

Carsten Busch is the author of "Preventing Industrial Accidents Reappraising H. W. Heinrich – More than Triangles and Dominoes”


Carsten Busch has studied Mechanical Engineering, Safety and Human Factors. He also spent some time at Law School but prioritised moving to Norway above graduating. He has over 25 years of experience in HSEQ Management at various levels in organisations from railway, oil & gas and police in The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Norway.

He speaks regularly on seminars and conferences about a variety of topics and is active in various professional forums, including the Dutch Society for Safety Science (NVVK) and his own website He is involved in the Lund University Human Factors and System Safety program as a tutor. His main research interests include the history of knowledge development and discourse in safety. His Lund University thesis, Heinrich's Local Rationality: Shouldn't 'New View' Thinkers Ask Why Things Made Sense to Him? was awarded best safety-related thesis of 2019 by the Intressentföreningen för Processäkerhet. Previous books include the well-received Safety Myth 101, Veiligheidsfabels 1-2-3 and If You Can't Measure It... Maybe You Shouldn't.

Other fields of expertise include progressive rock (you can find some writings on the subject online), single malt whisky and fantasy literature. Having bought an old large house, he is still learning more about do-it-yourself than he ever wanted.



Regular Hosts are:

Gary Wong, Complexity Facilitator at Gary Wong & Associates, Bachelor of Applied Science, Masters of Business Administration, safety and organizational change from a complexity perspective.

Tamara Parris, Community Development, Bachelors of Social Work, Occupational Health and Safety, and Emergency Management.

Rosa Carrillo author of The Relationship Factor in Safety Leadership, safety leadership consultant, MS in Organizational development.

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Written by Tamara Parris

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Tamara Parris is the VP of Community and Business Development at Safeopedia, and owner of EHS Professionals Group on LinkedIn. Her passion is working with other EHS Professionals to collaborate in thought leadership, networking and connecting our industry peers to resources that will increase profitability and safety practices within their workplaces. Tamara has been in the Health and Safety field for over 20 years, her industry experiences include the Construction sector, CCTV and Security, and Commercial Retail industries.

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