• Why Near Miss Reporting is So Important


    As defined by the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a near miss is “an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage—but had the potential to do so.”

    Since they essentially mean an accident didn’t happen, why is it so important to report near misses? They motivate us to be more proactive in our safety measures. By knowing something could happen, we can then put policies and procedures in place to prevent them from happening.

    NSC and OSHA offer these best practices when creating a near miss reporting system:

    • Leadership must establish a reporting culture reinforcing that every opportunity to identify and control hazards, reduce risk and prevent harmful incidents must be acted on.
    • The reporting system needs to be non-punitive and, if desired by the person reporting, anonymous.
    • Investigate near miss incidents to identify the root cause and the weaknesses in the system that resulted in the circumstances that led to the near miss.
    • Use investigation results to improve safety systems, hazard control, risk reduction, and lessons learned. All of these represent opportunity for training, feedback on performance and a commitment to continuous improvement.
    • Near miss reporting is vitally important to preventing serious, fatal and catastrophic incidents that are less frequent but far more harmful than other incidents.

    Have there been near misses at your worksite or facility? What do you feel is the best way in which to create a model near miss reporting system where you work?

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