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Journal Article


Majumdar A, Manole I, Nalty R. Transp. Res. Rec. 2022; 2676(2): 476-489.


(Copyright © 2022, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences USA, Publisher SAGE Publishing)






Academics and the maritime industry have used the Heinrich Pyramid for decades to justify overall safety theory, risk assessments, and accident prevention strategies. Most use Heinrich's original severity ratios (1:29:300) for accident causation development in a factory setting. However, to use the Pyramid effectively and mitigate risks/hazards, it must be calibrated to represent specific industry reality. This paper, for the first time, focuses on calibration of Heinrich's Pyramid to maritime accident data, using databases from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport. This research clusters five years (2013-2017) of accident data, using K-Means clustering on categorical variables and severity levels of accidents, similar logic to Heinrich's analysis. This approach and descriptive statistics provide new ratios between accident severity classifications for casualties with a ship (CS) and occupational accidents (OAs) separately.

RESULTS show that the data do not appear to fall into Heinrich's Pyramid shape and yield a vastly different and lower ratio to that of Heinrich's. Especially concerning was that Very Serious and Serious accidents occurred at a 1:5 ratio for CS and 4:1 for OA, very different from Heinrich's 1:29. Although these results calculated a new ratio, it may not represent reality owing to accident reporting requirements under UK law, a lack of an agreed taxonomy of risk and hazard definitions, and likely underreporting of less severe accidents. This is proven because, in 2017, CS data became pyramid shaped, after a decrease in the number of accidents and a 17% increase in near-misses.

Language: en


calibration; marine; port; ports and channels; safety; safety performance and analysis; seaports


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