[12] Mind health and internal control – Heinrich’s law

Mind health means a condition of mental health (including motivation, etc.). As we mentioned in the 2nd “Relationship between mind health and risk management” of the series, mental illness leads to internal control issues.

There is a reason for a serious incident

As we mentioned in 11th, neglecting a minor incident can lead to a serious incident. Behind this idea is Heinrich’s law. This law is a very useful way of thinking in establishing a risk management system for internal control.

Heinrich’s law:

There are 29 minor incidents behind one serious accident, and there are an additional 300 near-misses behind it.

Note: H W Heinrich, 1931, Industrial accident prevention: a scientific approach

Reduce the absolute number of near misses

If serious incidents occur probabilistically, according to Heinrich’s law, serious incidents occur at a rate of approximately 0.3% (*) of the number of near-miss incidents. Therefore, for example, if the number of near-miss incidents is 3000, it is expected that 10 serious incidents will occur.

In other words, it is important to reduce the absolute number of near misses in the population to suppress the occurrence of serious incidents. Improving mind health is thought to contribute significantly to controlling the number of near-miss incidents by improving concentration and attention.

* 1/300 ≒ 0.3%

The curse of zero risk causes stress

Zero risk is optimal condition, but it is practical impossible to achieve zero risk. However, we can try to make the risk as close to zero as possible.

For example, an event in which a loss of 1 million yen is fixed one month later is not called a risk. On the contrary, an event that you can get 1 million yen after 1 month with probability 40% is called a risk. Risk means an event that occurs probabilistically.

Therefore, if we know the number of near-miss incidents in the future completely, we have achieved zero risk. However, even if you intuitively think that it is impossible to predict the exact number of occurrences unless you fly to the future with a time machine. However, risk can be reduced by establishing a risk management system and appropriately controlling the number of near-miss incidents.

Achieving zero risk is unrealistic. You would be suffering from physical and mental disorders due to stress because you are too concerned about complete security and safety. Creating a system that can coexist with risks is the true internal control.

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