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10 Important Reasons Why You Need to Implement Near Miss Reporting

Near Miss Reporting
  • Wondering what exactly is a near miss?  And what is required for near miss reporting?  That’s where we’re here to help!

    As occupational safety experts in the construction industry, we’ve worked with numerous clients over the years to identify near misses and develop near miss reporting.

    In this post, we’re sharing everything you need to know about near misses, including their importance in occupational safety programs, as well as best practices for near miss reporting.

    About Near Misses

    First, let’s start with some of the basics on the meaning of near miss:

    What is a Near Miss?

    The definition of a near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, hazard, or damage but had the potential to do so.  Also known as a “close call,” a near miss often identifies a system weakness that if not corrected, could lead to dangerous hazards or injury in the future.  Basically, near miss accidents bring to light significant opportunities to improve safety practice.

    Near Miss Examples

    There are many occurrences that could be classified as a near miss accident but here are some general near miss incident examples:

    • Events where injury could have occurred but didn’t
    • Unsafe working or job site conditions
    • Unsafe or improper behavior
    • Unsafe employee work habits
    • Improper use of equipment
    • Malfunctioning equipment
    • Minor injuries and incidents with potential to become more serious

    Importance of Near Misses

    Near misses should be viewed as an opportunity to improve safety programs and practices on the job site or in the workplace.

    Why Near Misses Happen

    Most commonly, human error is the cause of many near miss incidents.  However in some cases, near misses in the workplace could also be the cause of a system or process error that has the potential to influence the situation and should be improved.

    Roles and Responsibilities

    When it comes to near misses, both employees and employers have the responsibility to identify, report, and improve on potential hazards.

    • Employees: Most commonly employees will be directly involved or firsthand witnesses in near miss situations.  It is their responsibility to inform management of potential incidents and provide the necessary information for near miss processes.
    • Employers:  It is the responsibility of employers to create clear policies and procedures around reporting near misses.  Most importantly, employers should promote a culture of reporting and encourage workers to participate without fear of discipline.  Employers should also provide near miss training and educate the importance of near miss reporting.

    Near Miss Reporting

    Next, let’s cover some of the best practices for near miss reporting.

    Important Reasons Why You Should Report Near Misses

    Near misses can be a significant indicator and critical opportunity to enhance safety practices.  Here are 10 important reasons why you should report near misses:

    1. Establishes safe practices in the workplace: Reporting a near miss helps to establish and continue safe practices within the workplace.
    2. Reduces risk: Reporting near misses can improve your safety program and reduces the overall tolerance for risk, which can help you to avoid fines and higher insurance premiums.
    3. Allows information to be shared easily: Information provided enables an employer to communicate the facts, causes, and corrective actions to all employees regarding near misses.
    4. Collects valuable data: Reporting of near misses provides valuable data and information to employees and management about how to avoid and prevent future hazards and injuries.
    5. Provides opportunity to improve safety operations: Near misses provides a significant opportunity to identify weaknesses to improve the safety, health, and security in the workplace or on a job site.
    6. Avoids complacency: With near miss reporting, employers avoid complacency by constantly evaluating processes and looking for improvements.
    7. Provides useful tool to identify workplace hazards:  Near miss reporting is a unique tool to identify workplace hazards without significant risk.
    8. Involves employees: A good near miss reporting systems allows employees to be involved in the safety program and increases employee engagement.
    9. Demonstrates management’s commitment to safety: Near miss reporting demonstrates management’s commitment to a culture of safety, which should be promoted to workers without fear of discipline or reprimand.
    10. Allows identification of trends: Near miss reporting is a valuable collection of data over time and allows management to identify possible trends and potential risks.

    Near Miss Reporting System

    A good near miss reporting system should include these three components:

    1. Management Process: Employers should establish clear processes and procedures around near misses.
    2. Tools to manage the system: Employers should provide tools such as easily accessible near miss reporting forms or electronic tracking systems for employees to easily submit near miss reporting.
    3. Employee Training: Employers should provide consistent and up to date training to employees on the importance of near misses and the necessary steps required to report incidents.

    Near Miss Reporting Procedure

    These are the basic steps to follow to report near misses:

    1. Identification: Recognize and identify the near miss incident.
    2. Disclosure: Report to management what happened and begin completing the near miss form.
    3. Distribution: Ensure a quick and timely distribution of required information to necessary parties.
    4. Root Cause Analysis: Perform a root cause analysis and thorough investigation of the incident to identify the main cause and help to identify solutions.
    5. Solution Identification: Identify a solution and corrective actions to improve the situation and prevent it from occurring again.  Solutions should be carefully analyzed with respect to cost, feasibility, and employee acceptance.
    6. Circulation: Share and circulate corrective actions with all those involved in the incident, as well as share details with employees who will be implementing solutions.
    7. Resolution: Resolve the situation, implement solutions, share findings, and learn from mistakes.

    Near Miss Reporting Forms

    There are many near miss report incident reports available online or you can create one to be easily customizable for your needs.  You’ll want to make it company and site specific.

    Here’s the basic information to include in near missing reporting forms:

    • Date of the incident
    • Location of the incident
    • Time of observation
    • Description of situation and conditions
    • Causes
    • Corrective Action Taken
    • Date Completed
    • Signatures

    Near miss recognition and reporting is an essential component of any good safety program.  I hope this information was helpful in educating you on the importance of near misses and how you can view them as a valuable opportunity to improve safety practices.  If you have any questions or need assistance with implementing safety programs, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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