Near misses can be a blessing in disguise. They create an opportunity to address a safety issue without anyone having gotten injured or killed. But you can only take advantage of this opportunity if you’re aware of near misses when they happen. Unfortunately, workers don’t always report near misses.
When we recently asked what the biggest barrier to near miss reporting was in your workplace, the top answer was overwhelmingly that workers don’t see near misses as serious (54%). Other answers:
- Workers are afraid of being disciplined. (19%)
- The safety culture says “suck it up and don’t make a big deal out of it.” (11%)
- Workers don’t know they’re supposed to report near misses. (8%)
- Workers feel pressure to maintain a clean incident record. (8%)
8 Steps for Effective Near Miss Management
So how do you get workers to take near misses seriously? One way is through effective near miss management. Take these eight steps to effectively manage near misses in your workplace:
1) Broadly define what constitutes a “near miss”;
2) Require workers to report near misses;
3) Prioritize reported near misses;
4) Distribute relevant information to the people who’ll investigate the near miss;
5) Determine the direct and root causes of the near miss;
6) Identify solutions to the causes;
7) Implement those solutions; and
8) Monitor the solutions implemented to ensure that they effectively eliminate the causes of the near miss and don’t create additional hazards.
OHS Insider has other valuable resources on near misses, including:
- Information on disciplining workers for near misses
- 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.