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Accident ProneA History of Technology, Psychology, and Misfits of the Machine Age$
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John C. Burnham

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226081175

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226081199.001.0001

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British Origins

British Origins

(p.51) 3. British Origins
Accident Prone
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes British accident proneness. Until Eric Farmer became the chief advocate of accident proneness, British workers seemed to find the idea of an accident prone employee an awkward, isolated empirical finding. Farmer's short article, “The Method of Grouping by Differential Tests in Relation to Accident Proneness,” was a progress report on research to find psychological tests to identify accident prone people. He emerged as the proponent of the term “proneness” in 1925–1926. British publications on accidents did attract attention from industrialists and those interested in safety. Farmer and E. G. Chambers started right out by distinguishing accident proneness from accident incidence. By the end of the 1920s, the campaign of Farmer, Chambers, and their colleagues to spread knowledge about accident proneness, including use of the phrase, had made substantial progress in Britain and had carried over at least to the United States.

Keywords:   Britain, Eric Farmer, The Method of Grouping, British workers, E. G. Chambers, accident incidence, Britain, United States

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