Near misses are “almost” incidents that could’ve resulted in serious injuries or property damage but didn’t. It’s easy for workers to ignore or not report near misses—after all, no harm was done. But near misses are opportunities to address safety issues before harm is done. So how to do encourage workers to report near misses?
A National Safety Council publication on near miss reporting systems includes these 10 tips to encourage workers to report near misses:
- Create a policy and procedure that’s communicated to all employees with the backing of senior management.
- Promote a culture of reporting with the support and help of all managers and supervisors.
- Educate workers on the reason why near miss reporting is a necessity, the important role that they play and the process for reporting.
- Ensure that the near miss reporting process is easy to understand and use.
- Continue to communicate the importance of near miss reporting, encouraging the participation of all employees.
- Use near miss reports as a leading indicator and report back to the organization on the positive steps taken to improve workplace safety as a result of such reports.
- Reinforce with workers that near miss reporting is non-punitive. (See, Information on disciplining workers for near misses)
- Consider incentives that encourage reporting and enhance the safety culture. (Incentives that have the potential to discourage reporting must be avoided.) An example of a good incentive is one that recognizes the participation of workers in the recognition and reporting of hazards, helping to enhance a reporting culture, engage workers in meaningful safety activities and continue a process of risk reduction.
- Include training on near miss reporting for new employees as a part of their orientation.
- Celebrate the success and value of the near miss reporting process with all employees.
For more information, tools, etc. on near misses, see the following:
- Answers to frequently asked questions about near misses
- Eight steps to effectively manage near misses
- A real-life incident you can use to show the value of near miss reporting
- A model near miss reporting form
- Model language on reporting near misses for your OHS policy
- A recorded webinar on how to develop a near miss reporting culture.