Every day we encounter close calls. Whether it is something you nearly drop, but catch in a reflex, or a person you nearly run into, but you manage to turn away at the last moment. At the workplace these close calls, or near misses, can be symptoms of lacking safety measures. For this reason near miss reporting is important in improving a company’s safety efforts.
Near misses are situations that nearly became accidents, but no one got hurt and no damage was done. Near misses are also frequently called close calls or narrow escapes. For example a hammer that slips from someone’s hands as they are working at height. The hammer falls but lands 1 floor down without hitting the colleagues working below. Should anyone have been hit by the falling hammer we would have had a workplace accident on hand, in this example, however, we can talk of a near miss as no one got hurt.
Benefits of near miss reporting
In most countries the reporting of near miss (fall) accidents is not required by law, but there is a huge benefit to having such a reporting program within your organization. Near misses indicate that there are improvements to be made in a company’s safety efforts. Research indicates that most serious incidents were preceded by warning signs and/or near misses.
So investigating occurrences that nearly became incidents can help prevent accidents from happening in the future. With reporting a company’s health and safety practices can also be elevated to the next level. However, your workplace safety culture should be up to the task.