How are today’s ‘hearts and minds’ programs linked to a late-19th century definition of human factors as people’s moral and mental deficits? What do Heinrich’s ‘unsafe acts’ from the 1930’s have in common with the Swiss cheese model of the early 1990’s? Why was the reinvention of human factors in the 1940’s such an important event in the development of safety thinking? What makes many of our current systems so complex and impervious to Tayloristic safety interventions? ‘Foundations of Safety Science’ covers the origins of major schools of safety thinking, and traces the heritage and interlinkages of the ideas that make up safety science today.


  • Offers a comprehensive overview of the theoretical foundations of safety science
  • Provides balanced treatment of approaches since the early 20th century, showing interlinkages and cross-connections
  • Includes an overview and key points at the beginning of each chapter and study questions at the end to support teaching use
  • Uses an accessible style, using technical language where necessary
  • Concentrates on the philosophical and historical traditions and assumptions that underlie all safety approaches

chapter 1|21 pages

The 1900s and Onward


chapter 2|40 pages

The 1910s and Onward

Taylor and Proceduralization

chapter 3|23 pages

The 1920s and Onward

Accident Prone

chapter 4|50 pages

The 1930s and Onward

Heinrich and Behavior-Based Safety

chapter 5|51 pages

The 1940s and Onward

Human Factors and Cognitive Systems Engineering

chapter 6|29 pages

The 1950s, 1960s, and Onward

System Safety

chapter 7|47 pages

The 1970s and Onward

Man-Made Disasters

chapter 8|38 pages

The 1980s and Onward

Normal Accidents and High Reliability Organizations

chapter 9|34 pages

The 1990s and Onward

Swiss Cheese and Safety Management Systems

chapter 10|52 pages

The 2000s and Onward

Safety Culture

chapter 11|39 pages

The 2010s and Onward

Resilience Engineering

chapter |5 pages