It’s usually customary to file reports of injuries and accidents that occur at the workplace. The primary purpose of reporting near misses is to prevent the recurrence of accidents in the organisation. Nowadays, most organisations have very detailed reporting procedures for events and are intentional about documenting any incident and injury that occurs in the workplace at any time.
WHAT IS NEAR-MISS REPORTING?
We can define near miss reporting as the process of notifying and recording workplace events that didn’t lead to injuries, damages, illnesses, or fatalities but had the potential to do so! A near miss usually doesn’t cause bodily harm but precedes an accident where an injury or loss can occur. Generally, they are the leading indicators of accidents and are typically used to prevent future occurrence of incidents but only if scrutinized correctly.
Near misses are often brushed off, but that’s not the right way to respond to these types of close calls. When a near miss occurs, it shows that there are potential hazards in the workplace or the results of unsafe employee actions or poor working conditions. Thus, all near misses must be reported to optimise safety and avoid HSE-related penalties.
WHAT SITUATIONS WOULD BE A NEAR MISS?
Slipping, tripping, and falling are the primary near-miss events in various workplaces. Examples of near-miss situations include:
– A fall occurs when an employee attempts to climb an unstable ladder
– Your leg gets stuck between a pallet of materials and support structures, but no injury occurs
– An employee trips on some materials in a dimly lit hallway or walkway
– A co-worker slips on water from cleaning that’s not properly mopped up or condensation from overhead pipes but does not fall or get injured.
– An employee’s loose clothing is caught in the machinery but tears off before the employee gets injuries.
– Two workers are rough playing and bump into a third worker, a non-involved party.
– A tool, equipment, or any other item that’s insecurely stored at height and falls off narrowly missing a nearby employee
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR WORKPLACES?
Near misses usually indicate there’s a lapse or hazard in the current safety measures. So, ignoring the occurrence instead of reporting it means that the hazard still exists and can cause harm at any time. Unfortunately, it is a matter of time before a worker is severely injured or damage to equipment or property occurs. But when these indicators are appropriately used, they make the established safety programme proactive rather than reactive.
Reporting a near miss minimises the chances of the situation happening again soon. Also, it ensures that the potential hazards are eliminated once they are addressed by the corresponding workplace injury management team. Near miss, reports have a significant financial benefit to an organisation. Worker’s compensation, medical expenses, and accident-related costs all affect the organisation’s bottom line.
Taking near-miss investigations seriously usually saves you money, time, and lives further down the line. When you investigate a close call, you detect and rectify the potential hazards. These investigations will help you:
– Prevent future recurrence of the incident
– Improve risk control
– Identify where an existing control measure failed
– Determine the improvements required
– Highlight points where risks assessments need reviewing
Near miss, reporting supports an excellent safety culture within the organisation. Safe workplaces usually have a valuable safety culture. If the upper management takes safety seriously, this means the employees will support safety too. So, when you encourage near miss reporting, educate, and train all the employees on the necessities of such reports, you build a strong safety culture within the organisation.
The risks should be immediately mitigated after they are identified. In-depth incident investigations and root cause analysis processes tend to be useless if the findings are not acted upon. The near-miss might reoccur, and this time it may not be a near miss. A severe injury will occur!
Safety should be every organisation’s core. No one within the workplace should be pushed to report near-miss events. In addition, incentive programmes should even be established to reward any employee who reports incidents. Near miss reporting is crucial for a safe workplace and a critical aspect for the success of any business. Embed it into your safety culture and experience a multitude of benefits.