A near-miss can feel a little hard to pin down. When it comes documenting and reporting one, how exactly does one go about recording something that didn’t happen?
Below are 5 steps to help improve how you report a near miss.
According to OSHA and the National Safety Council Alliance a near miss is: “…an incident in which no property was damaged and no personal injury was sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage or injury easily could have occurred. Near misses also may be referred to as close calls, near accidents, accident precursors, injury-free events and, in the case of moving objects, near collisions.” So in effect, a near miss is something that should have happened, but didn’t, because you just got lucky. It’s the workplace equivalent of all those fortunate pedestrians depicted in viral video clips, walking away Scott-free after an 18-wheeler careens by totally out of control. Fate, fortune, just plain dumb luck, either way it didn’t happen, but it should have.
So why document what didn’t happen?
It allows us to protect ourselves and our teammates from the consequences and repercussions of physics. We document, so that we can learn, because next time we may not be so lucky. There is always a faulty policy, process, or system of management to blame with near-misses, and that’s what near-miss reporting seeks to address.
To successfully report a near-miss, first things first. The leadership has got to be on board with
creating and maintaining a culture of safety that encourages near-misses to be reported and investigated. It demands that preventative actions or behaviors are implemented in order to
prevent the near-miss from occurring again. To be blunt, if your team members are afraid to
speak up, or don’t feel that anything will be done about it either way, near-misses won’t get
reported, period. But assuming that your workplace has established a culture of safety and responsibility, the near-miss reporting process could look something like this.
1. The near-miss is reported as SOON as possible after the event. The more time that
passes, the harder it is to recreate exactly what happened.
2. After the near-miss has been reported, an investigation that includes enough data to
determine the cause of the near miss and correlating or contributing factors is performed,
and thoroughly documented.
3. After the data and information has been compiled, assessed, and evaluated, a plan of
action with buy-in from the different business units needs to be created to prevent the
near miss from re-occurring.
4. A plan with no follow up just looks good on paper, so accountability should also be
assigned. Who is going to confirm that the new process/procedure/policy is being
implemented, and how will this be reported?
5. Where will this information be compiled, and stored for accurate record keeping and
retrieval? How will it be organized? How can you take advantage of this information for
training purposes in the future? I would recommend this Incident tool!
Your observations and reporting now could prevent an injury or fatality in the future.
Near misses make for great after work stories, but preventing them from occurring again
can truly be the difference between life and death.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with near-miss reporting, especially with all the other
things that are often on your plate!
BasicSafe can help! Click the button below to start streamlining your near-miss reporting system.