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Near miss reporting for accident prevention

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Near miss reporting for accident prevention

What is a near miss?

Every day we encounter a near miss at our workplace. The one some persons call a close call or a narrow escape. Sometimes whenever it happens, we tend to catch some reflex and manage to turn away at the last moment. But then it doesn’t end there. Some of these events can lead to a dangerous outcome that someone may be unable to turn away immediately. 

Near misses

Near misses are situations that nearly become an accident, but no one had hurt by them. And no record of any damage. So, it’s always good that near misses remain a near miss, else it would lead to an accident which is not desirable whether at the workplace or at home. Near-miss events can be symptoms that a safety measure is missing in the workplace. 

An example of a near miss is when a carpenter is working at a height with his hammer and the hammer drop from that level. Fortunately, no one was in that location, and the hammer fell to the ground. There was a near miss because there was no injury from the incident. The hammer was in good condition. So, the difference between near misses from accidents is that there was no harm to persons or damage to the tool or equipment.

What should we do with near misses when they happen in the workplace?

Since the near miss didn’t result in any harm or damage, ignoring it would have been okay, but that’s not the best thing to do. If the business or an organization is too serious about safety, they will encourage near miss reporting and investigation. 

In most countries, reporting a near miss is not a legal requirement. But businesses and organizations can benefit from it if they encourage near-miss reporting and investigation. You can only investigate what you reported when it happened.

Most near misses not handled properly often result in an accident. When a business keeps having multiple near misses of a particular kind, it shows there should be safety improvement regarding that line. Investigating a near miss will prevent an accident from happening in the future and help save the company a lot of costs arising from accidents. 

Near miss Reporting 

Near-miss reporting is giving out information concerning a near miss the moment it happens by the employees. Some organizations have formal ways of near-miss reporting by using forms, emails etc. But the main thing is that a near miss was not left unreported. 

Most times, workers are not ready to report a near miss because of blame or because they are afraid of being punished when they do so. Near-miss reporting should be natural for all workers to do. The management has to reassure the workers of their support and not be blamed in such an exercise and even encourage them.

If a company has a history of blame culture, the workers will avoid making near-miss reports. People are always afraid of blame. The focal point to address any near miss should be the behaviour that gave rise to the near miss. And avoid blaming the worker involved. In order words, blame the behaviour and not the worker. 

The investigation has to commence immediately when a near miss report is received. Some businesses don’t investigate all near misses but only those with a high potential to be fatal. 

Tips on how to promote near miss reporting effectively?

For effective near-miss reporting, there is a tip on how to get a favourable outcome and improve your safety management system. Know that a near miss has the potential to cause an accident the next time it happens, don’t see a near miss as a mere close call or narrow escape as the case may be. 

Follow these tips below to get it right during near-miss reporting.

  • Ensure that you promote a positive view to the workers about miss reporting matters. If they don’t see near miss reporting as a positive thing to do, they’re likely not to engage in it.
  • Tell the workers to see that there are no negative consequences attached to the near-miss reporting. And they should be comfortable doing it.
  • Educate the employees on near miss reporting for them to know. Tell them the critical role it plays in improving the safety management system.
  • Tell them how easy it is to do near miss reporting. They can choose to remain anonymous in their reporting if they want.
  • Do corrective and preventive action for every near miss.
  • Always encourage and motivate workers on near miss reporting at all times.

Nearmiss investigation

A near miss investigation is an action to take when there is a near-miss report from the employees. After the near-miss investigation, communicate it to the workers. 

Benefits of near miss reporting and investigation

  • Recognizing a near miss and correcting it will prevent that near miss from causing an accident in the future.
  • It will help reduce the number of near-miss incidents in an organization.
  • Near-miss reporting and investigation will help to fix the problems before they result in an accident. 
  • With near-miss, getting to the root cause can be easier because no one is harmed or hurt. All parties concerned will be present at the site for the investigation, so the workers will likely give out information with no cover-up. However, a fatal accident creates a missing link. Some reliable information may be lost. 

Examples of near-miss events.

  • An employee would have been hit by a forklift truck in a workshop when walking and was unaware that the forklift truck was approaching.
  • While welding, One of the welders had a minor shock from a loose wire in the extension plug.
  • An employee tripped on a cable on the walkway to his office, but he had no fall because he held his hand at the wall of the passageway.

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