Train Workers on How to Identify and Report Near Misses
What is a Near Miss?
According to ISO 45001, a near miss is “a work-related incident where no injury or ill health occurs, but which has the potential to cause these.”
Both a near miss and an accident are incidents. But unlike an accident, a near miss is an incident that did not result in a fatality, injury, illness, or property damage. A near miss can also be called a “near hit” or a “close call”.
According to an EHS Today survey, the top leading indicator tracked by organizations is near miss reporting, followed by employee audits/observations and participation in safety training. Near misses can provide valuable information on workplace hazards. This is why the reporting of near misses should be encouraged.
Use Common Definitions
To encourage reporting, train workers by explaining the importance of capturing near misses and how it can lead to improvements in safety. Start by making sure that everyone has a common definition of a “near miss” and how to identify one.
First, explain the difference between a near miss and an accident by using ISO 45001’s definition and these formulas:
Fatalities + Injuries + Illnesses + Property Damage = Accidents
Near Misses + Accidents = Incidents
Second, explain the difference between a near miss and an observation. A near miss is an “active” circumstance, i.e. an event takes place and fortunately does not result in an injury. An observation is a “passive” circumstance, i.e. there is a situation, behavior or condition that could potentially result in an adverse event. The reporting of both should be encouraged.
Here’s an example with an observation, near miss and accident: workers enter a facility with snowy boots. The snow melts resulting in a wet floor. You see water and realize it could lead to a slip: that’s an observation. Someone slips on the water but does not fall: that’s a near miss. Someone slips and falls, and gets injured: that’s an accident.
Explain How to Report Near Misses
After explaining the importance of near miss reporting, and making sure that everyone understands what exactly a near miss is, you can cover other topics, including, but not limited to:
- How the near miss reporting program works.
- The roles and responsibilities of everyone (workers, supervisors, managers, etc.).
- The incentives offered for reporting near misses (if applicable).
- The consequences of not reporting near misses on the organization.
Finally, explain how workers should capture and enter near misses, preferably in a central EHS software platform or incident management software application. Also, consider using a safety mobile app to make the reporting of near misses as easy as possible. Through the app, workers can quickly report near misses from anywhere, at any time, and even while working offline.
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