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What is a Near Miss in the Workplace Really Telling You?

  • ​"What a heart-stopper – that could have been bad!"

    "Now that was a close call."

    Have you ever heard similar statements at work? Have you actually experienced a near miss while on the job?

    A near miss is an unplanned event that doesn't result in injury or death, but could have.

    Often these incidents – while they may leave you shaken, laughing or with a "good story" to tell when you get home from work – often are not reported. No harm done, right?

    But by not reporting near misses, employees also are not doing anything to prevent more, potentially serious incidents from occurring in the future. Near misses occur every day in every industry, and most serious, catastrophic and loss-producing incidents are preceded by these warnings.

     

    Develop a Near-Miss Program

     

    Some organizations wait for losses to occur before taking steps to prevent them. But recognizing and reporting near misses can significantly improve worker safety.

    In establishing a near-miss reporting system:

    • Leadership must establish a reporting culture
    • The reporting system must be non-punitive and anonymous
    • An investigation must follow to identify the root cause and weaknesses in the system
    • Investigation results provide the roadmap to improve safety systems
    • Results provide opportunities for training, feedback and a commitment to continued improvement

     

    Employee Participation is Vital

     

    Employees are uniquely suited to provide information on workplace near misses. How can employers encourage workers to participate in reporting?

    • Create policies and procedures that clearly explain near-miss reporting
    • Make the reporting system easy to understand and use
    • Promote a culture of reporting with the support of all managers and supervisors
    • Train all employees on the reasons near-miss reporting is necessary
    • Provide incentives for workers who report incidents

Do You Have a Near Miss Reporting System?

The NSC/OSHA Alliance has put together this guide to creating a workplace culture that encourages reporting near misses.

Learn More

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