Accident Proneness. Research in the Occurrence, Causation, by Lynette Shaw

By Lynette Shaw

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In contrast with this is the clinical approach—the functions of which are to determine the relationship existing among a number of factors which have played or may play a part in the case of the individual who becomes involved in accidents, and to develop a program for the prevention of additional accidents on his part. "Another limitation of the statistical viewpoint in accident prevention is its emphasis upon isolated aspects of individual personality, in contrast with the concern, in the clinical approach, for the total personality of the accident-prone individual.

May Smith did not mean that these two statisticians were the first to remark that some people had clumsier fingers and (or) less alert brains than others, a fact no doubt commented on by the overlookers in manufactories of flint arrows in the old Stone Age; she meant that they were the first, so far as present known, to propose an arithmetically simple test which could perhaps reveal the presence of some human characteristic, later to be christened Accident Proneness. . " This paper was probably Major Greenwood's last completed work.

I therefore feel that it is only fair, right here at the beginning of the history of this sort of controversy, to point out once again to anyone unfamiliar with the restrictions of scientific writing that there is an unwritten law that scientific studies should be presented with ultra-conservatism. When a scientific author prefaces his conclusions with phrases like "it seems" or "the evidence suggests", this is merely a reflection of the fact that he is adhering to this unwritten law—it does not mean that he is hopelessly unsure of his facts !

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