Imagine you’re walking around a corner in your warehouse and a forklift speeds past you, almost taking your head off. You wheel backward jumping over cables and extension cords littering the ground.
Before crashing into a shelving unit and knocking down expensive packages, you steady yourself.
You’ve just experienced a near miss.
Instead of writing this incident off as a “close call” or a “fluke,” you should file a near miss report.
But many managers and employees don’t practice near miss reporting. Or they don’t quite know why it’s important.
We’ll tell you why it’s important, how to write one, and how you can develop a culture and program of near miss reporting.
But first, let’s define near miss reporting.
What is Near Miss Reporting?
Near miss reporting goes by many names – near miss incident report, near miss accident report, or near hit – but they all mean the same thing:
An unplanned event that could’ve caused human, environmental, or equipment damage but didn’t cause harm because of a fortunate “break” in the chain of events.
So if no one is hurt and the business doesn’t suffer an interruption in operations, why does a near miss report matter?
The Importance of Near Miss Reporting
A near miss is a warning sign of potential future accidents.
Near miss reports give managers and employees information about their current work conditions, processes, and systems and hints at possible solutions to dangers in the workplace.
Without near miss reports, workplaces may simply rely on “days without an accident” to track their progress and level of workplace safety.
But “days without an accident” don’t tell you anything about how to improve workplace safety – it merely tells you that the workplace is presumably safe.
Near miss reporting, on the other hand, is a useful tool for driving continuous safety improvements across your organization – which is one of many advantages near miss reports provide.
Benefits of Near Miss Reporting
The benefits of near miss reporting are varied and far-reaching. Apart from helping managers identify unsafe workplace conditions, here are a few additional benefits:
- Promotes a workplace culture of safety by encouraging others to report near misses
- Prevents future accidents by educating employees on how accidents almost occurred so they don’t make the same mistakes
- Proactively reduces near misses and accidents by encouraging employee participation and looking for any and all things that contribute to unsafe conditions and eliminating or reducing them
- Provides data for statistical analysis to identify unsafe workplace trends and track performance of individuals (after all, some near misses can be attributed to people, not just machines or systems)
So you can see why near miss reporting is important, but how do you actually create a near miss report?
How to Write a near Miss Report
If you or your employees experience a near miss, here’s what to include in your near miss incident report:
- Date of near miss
- Time of near miss
- Location of near miss
- Names of people involved, including employees, supervisors, and managers
- Departments involved
- Sequence of events leading to the near miss
- Mode of action of the employees involved (walking, running, climbing, lifting, operating machinery, etc.)
- Environmental conditions surrounding the near miss
- Equipment used or present during near miss
- Analysis of the primary and secondary causes of the near miss
- Recommendations for corrective actions, policy changes, environmental changes, etc.
Now, one near miss report could go a long way. But if you want to engage your employees in contributing to a culture of safety reporting, then you have to design a strong near miss reporting program.
How to Design a Near Miss Reporting Program
To design a near miss reporting program, follow the steps below:
- Choose KPIs for near miss reporting and define the goals of your program such as “reduce near misses by 50%.”
- Make reporting near misses as easy as possible to increase the likelihood that most employees will take the time to create a report (and know that it won’t take much time to do so).
- Get every leader in your organization involved and excited about the near miss reporting program – if they’re not onboard, your employees won’t be either.
- Educate your employees on the benefits of near miss reporting to ensure buy-in from them.
- Define near misses for your employees and give them concrete examples of near miss accidents.
- Monitor and track every near miss reported.
- Never punish your employees for reporting a near miss (even if it seems it was their fault). Near miss reports should be used for preventative measures only, not punitive actions.
- Always seriously investigate near miss incidents.
- Use near miss reports to drive organizational improvements in workplace safety.
One Essential Tool to Prevent Near Misses
We’ve given you plenty of ideas and actions for using near miss reporting to improve the safety conditions of your workplace.
But there’s one tool we didn’t mention:
If you don’t have updated safety policies, or aren’t continuously training yourselves and your employees in safety best practices and safety hazards (such as the top OSHA violations), then near miss reporting won’t be as effective as it could be.
To get the full benefits of near miss reports, you need to implement regular safety training.
That doesn’t mean you have to hire expensive speakers, or disrupt entire work days, or ruin your employees’ weekends with long training seminars.
On the contrary, you can easily provide quick safety lessons that stick in your employees’ minds long-term at a low cost.
The low cost of eLearning combined with the effectiveness of microlearning makes it easy for you to quickly implement and deliver safety training to your employees in the comfort of their cubicles or homes.
Enterprise training provides a host of safety courses, covering topics from creating a safety program to laser safety training, for example.
We also offer a near miss reporting system ideal for capturing and preventing these events – to learn more, schedule your free consultation today!
Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!