Safetip #152: Anonymity to Encourage Near Miss Reporting

December 05, 2018

This week’s Safetip is about allowing the anonymous reporting of near misses to encourage worker participation.

Near Misses Can Help to Identify Hazards

A near miss is an incident that did not result in a fatality, injury, illness, property damage or another type of adverse consequence. ISO 45001 defines a near miss (or a “near hit” or “close call”) as “A work-related incident where no injury or ill health occurs, but which has the potential to cause these.” Many organizations track near miss reporting as a leading indicator, although near miss reporting can be either a based how the data is used.

Organizations should encourage the reporting of near misses by their workers. Information on near misses can be analyzed to detect patterns and uncover new hazards or risks, which creates opportunities to improve safety.

Kick-Start Near Miss Reporting with Anonymity

In an organization with a strong safety culture, workers actively report incidents, near misses and observations without any fear of retaliation, and the information is used to improve safety.

But when near miss reporting is introduced for the first time, some workers may be reluctant to participate because they may feel that they’re making their company, managers, colleagues, departments, or even themselves, look bad.

To encourage workers to participate when you launch a near miss reporting program, consider allowing them to report near misses anonymously. This can be temporary until the reporting culture is strong, or you may provide the possibility for workers to report near misses anonymously any time. The goal is to encourage the reporting of as many near misses as possible, by emphasizing that reporting is non-punitive.

Also, remember that anonymity is only one way of encouraging participation. To make near miss reporting successful in your organization, be sure that there is also a strong commitment from management, positive reinforcements and an acknowledgement of safety issues identified from near misses, along with corrective actions.

Finally, you can encourage workers to report near misses by making it as easy as possible. For example, workers can quickly report incidents, near misses and observations from anywhere through a safety mobile app, even while working offline. They can also describe events hands-free through speech-to-text, and attach media files (images, videos, audio files) to improve the quality of the information reported.

Visit Enablon Insights again next Wednesday for a new Safetip!