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Accident proneness is a loose term used to describe why a person has an increased likilihood of being involved in accidents. The implication is that they may be contributing to the cause of the accidents, either consciously or unconsciously.

However accident prone individuals may have more accidents due to structural aspects of their lives, like working in dangerous environments, driving long distances etc.

While of course somebody has to be on the long tail of the frequency distribution. They may just be unlucky.

Early work[edit | edit source]

The early work on this subject dates back to 1919, in a study by Greenwood and Woods, who studied workers at a British munitions factory and found that accidents were unevenly distributed among workers, with a relatively small proportion of workers accounting for most of the accidents. [1] Further work on accident-proneness was carried out in the 1930s and 1940s.

Current work[edit | edit source]

The subject is still being studied actively. Research into accident-proneness is of great interest in safety engineering, where human factors such as pilot error, or errors by nuclear plant operators, can have massive effects on the reliability and safety of a system. One of the areas of most interest is the Aeronautical area, where accidents have been reviewed from psychological and human factors, to mechanical and technical failures. There has been many conclusive studies, that present that human factor has great influence on the results of those occurrences.

Statistical evidence[edit | edit source]

Statistical evidence clearly demonstrates that different individuals can have different rates of accidents from one another; for example, young male drivers are the group at highest risk for being involved in car accidents. There also seems to be substantial variation in personal accident rates between individuals.

Doubt[edit | edit source]

However, a number of studies have cast doubt on whether accident-proneness actually exists as a distinct, persistent and independently verifiable physiological or psychological syndrome. Although substantial research has been devoted to this subject, there still seems to be no conclusive evidence either for or against the existence of accident proneness in this sense.

Nature and causes[edit | edit source]

The exact nature and causes of accident-proneness, assuming that it exists as a distinct entity, are unknown. Factors which have been considered as associated with accident-proneness have included absent-mindedness, carelessness, impulsivity, predisposition to risk-taking, and unconscious desires to create accidents as a way of achieving secondary gains.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References & Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  1. Greenwood, M. and Woods, H.M. (1919) The incidence of industrial accidents upon individuals with special reference to multiple accidents. Industrial Fatigue Research Board, Medical Research Committee, Report No. 4. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

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