If you must use a Triangle – Use a Logical One


If you are looking to reduce the need to have a triangle/ratio to explain predictable outcomes due to common causes (classes of events) you MAY want to consider this as an approach:

Some Basics

We know people get injured by energy hitting them OR that their energy needs have not been met (food, water, warmth, oxygen). Should the force of the energy contact them in a way that exceeds their body’s capacity to withstand that energy (because of the strength of the energy or the importance of the body part struck “heart VS finger”) a variety of injuries will be experienced…everything from a minor irritation to the ultimate injury, our death.

THIS is the logical “common causes” of INJURY. There may be others but this fits to explain the “large majority” of injuries experienced by humans.

There are just so many injury/damage causes (energies) we typically have to consider. Again there may be more and if there are, we just need to add them to the list.
• Mechanical Energy
• Electrical Energy
• Chemical Energy
• Kinetic Energy (Moving Objects)
• Potential (Stored) Energy
• Thermal Energy
• Acoustic Energy (Vibration, Noise)
• Radiant Energy
• Atmospheric/Geological/Oceanographic
• Biological Hazards

It is reasonable to assume that the HIGHER the energy the more chance that a human body will be challenged to withstand it without detrimental effects. This is not a solid number but a range of numbers to be considered. For example: a 5 kg weight dropped on your foot could reasonably cause a injury that could result in a variety of injuries up to an including a human death. It becomes a matter of probability. A broken blood vessel in your foot COULD create a blood clot that kills you. Not likely, and we could if we REALLY saw a value in it study this but there would probably be low payback in doing so.

Energy/Barriers Model

Using the Energy/Barriers Model of causation we recognize that there are limited ways to reduce the chances energy will come in contact with us. We can manipulate the energy, pathway or the person or thing we want to protect or put barriers in place between the energy and the path and/or the path and the desired protected thing.

This is Safety Management #101. Now to believe there is some magic “common cause” to all of these random things…and that those things act in some sort of way that could be usefully used to motivate people to stop some particular kind of incident/injury is a real stretch in logic. Treating ALL small energy low impact events as equally important as large energy/large impact events is SILLY and a waste of everyone’s time. While you’re preventing the next paper cut people could be dying from the large energy incident you are NOT addressing.

I would suggest the best we can do is to Control the Energy through an Energy/Barriers model and use Risk Management principles (Risk=Probability X Severity X Exposure) to reduce the risk of injury and damage. No triangle is required. There’s no need to establish some magical common cause or “foundation” for all injuries which attempts to link them in some logical way. THEY ARE NOT! Too many variables to link them all into some theory that will always work.

A bit more about Risk and Energy/Barriers


and of course…

Repeat after me “Keep your triangle in your geometry set where it belongs!”


One comment on “If you must use a Triangle – Use a Logical One

  1. […] If you must use a Triangle – Use a Logical One […]

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