Understanding and Avoiding Near Misses

"If It's Not Safe, STOP.....Do It the Safe Way."

A concrete contractor forgoes fall protection because he finds it uncomfortable. Later that day, he slips and nearly falls off the floor of the 12 story building he is working on.

A project manager is reading their smartphone as they walk down the hall at the office and almost collides with a co-worker.

Although one case is more extreme than the other, both are examples of near misses – and both are preventable situations.

“A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.” The easiest way to identify a near miss is, when you witness or are involved in an event that is unnerving or scary relative to safety in which “your heart skips a beat or flutters while observing or performing a task or event.” If this happens you just observed a near miss.

History has shown repeatedly that most loss-producing events (incidents), both serious and catastrophic, were preceded by warnings or near-miss incidents,” that had occurred prior.

The reporting of near misses can help create an open culture in which workers feel responsible not only for their own safety, but also for the safety of their co-workers. Near-miss reporting systems also can help capture data for statistical analysis, and “can be considered to be a leading indicator of performance used in balance with other leading and lagging measures of performance in regards to safety incidents in the workplace.”

For a near-miss reporting program to be successful, leadership must reinforce a culture that promotes identifying and reporting hazards, and then take action. The system needs to be non-punitive – avoiding punishment and the “blame game”, and reported incidents must be investigated to determine root causes. Here at Ardaman we strongly encourage the reporting of near misses and hazard identifications as they help to identify potential issues and allow us to provide solutions early to prevent an incident from occurring.

“Reporting unsafe behaviors and conditions and near miss events is a proactive measure
that focuses on correcting situations before they cause injury or loss.
By doing your part in reporting, you may be saving yourself or a co-worker from future injury.”

Always notify your supervisor when hazards and near misses are identified and submit a near miss/hazard identification form.


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