5 Examples Of How Near Miss Reporting Can Stop Accidents

Summary

5 Examples of How Near Miss Reporting Can Prevent Accidents

Identifying Unsafe Conditions: Reporting near misses helps identify hazards before they cause harm.
Improving Safety Procedures: Analysing near misses can lead to better safety protocols.
Training Opportunities: Near miss reports highlight areas needing employee training.
Preventing Recurrence: Documenting near misses helps prevent similar incidents in the future.
Promoting Safety Culture: Encourages a proactive approach to workplace safety.

5 Examples Of How Near Miss Reporting Can Stop Accidents – Near-miss reporting might not be a legal requirement, but reporting the following accidents and incidents will be. So, it makes sense to get near-miss reporting in place because it can help prevent future accidents before they happen. Here are five examples.

A near miss is an undesired event that, under slightly different circumstances, could have harmed people or damaged property, materials, or the environment.

Audit process

near miss: an event that, while not causing harm, has the potential to cause injury or ill health

HSE HSG245 Accident and Incidents

– near miss: an event that, while not causing harm, has the potential to cause injury or ill health.HSE Investigating accidents and incidents.

If a near-miss happens, it could happen again. And just because no one was hurt this time doesn’t mean you will be so lucky next time.

Reporting of near misses is not usually a legal requirement (except for dangerous occurrences under RIDDOR). However, it is suitable for safety management to report them internally. But if a near miss isn’t an accident, and no one was harmed, what good is reporting it?

Unfortunately, where near misses occur, accidents are sure to follow. Research has shown that for every 90 near misses, an accident will occur. While the exact numbers may vary, near misses are a warning sign that something is going wrong.

Reporting of near misses can reduce accidents and improve safety. You find out what went wrong, fix problems, and learn lessons.

It often takes an accident to identify a health and safety problem in the workplace. While the situation may then get addressed, someone has been injured. Accidents can also have financial implications and reflect poorly on your organisation through increased accident rates.

5 Examples Of How Near Miss Reporting Can Stop Accidents – The ultimate goal of near-miss reporting is to address the incident and take action to prevent reoccurrence. You can stop accidents before they happen!

Example 1 – The Hammer Drop

A workman drops a hammer off a scaffold, which falls 20m to the ground, landing only a few feet away from another operative. It’s a near-miss incident. No accident occurred, no injury. The hammer was returned to the worker, and everyone could continue their work.

Following a near-miss report, the scaffold was inspected and found missing toeboards where the hammer slipped through. This was immediately rectified, preventing other materials from falling and causing accidents in the future.

Without a near-miss reporting system, no manager may ever know that the hammer drop occurred unless they witnessed it. And the next time something falls from the open edge, someone at ground level might be hit or even killed.

A near-miss report allows management to review the situation and take action. The workman may have accidentally kicked the hammer as he turned around to pick it up, or the hammer may have gone through a gap in the toeboard or a missing scaffold board and fallen off the edge.

Management can review the information, examine the circumstances, and take action to prevent reoccurrence. In this case, action would include ensuring all edge protection and scaffold boards are in place and have no significant gaps.

The near-miss report may also highlight that scaffolds are being signed off incorrectly or not being checked at the required intervals. Additional training and inspections can be scheduled.

Example 2 – The Cable Trip

An employee trips over an extension cable running across the middle of an office area. She manages to regain her footing and continues walking. No one else notices.

Following a near-miss report, a workplace assessment shows that several trailing cables are routed across walkways. Some are not even in use, and others could be plugged in closer to where needed and routed away from traffic routes. These quick changes greatly minimise the risk of trips causing injury in the future.

Near misses can seem insignificant, like the trip above. But, under different circumstances, the employee could have fallen against the corner of a desk, hitting her head. Or she might have tripped down some stairs, breaking a bone.

By taking action right away, you prevent a more serious version of the event from reoccurring.

Example 3 – The Reversing Vehicle

A site operative returns from lunch when he sees a delivery vehicle reversing off the site. A woman with a pushchair is on the pavement. He shouts out and waves at the driver to get his attention. The driver stops, the woman continues walking, and the operative then waves the driver to continue.

Another near miss. Another lucky escape. What if the next time a vehicle reverses off the site, no operative returns from lunch? What if the person on the pavement is distracted, has headphones, or is talking on the phone?

Luckily, the operative reported the near-miss to the site manager, who implemented a one-way system to prevent reversing off the site. He enforces this new rule with signage and barriers. Going forward, all delivery vehicles are escorted on and off the site with the assistance of a bankman.

It’s easy to see how this example could have resulted in a serious accident. But simple changes once a problem is identified can help make your work safer for everyone.

Example 4 – The Puddle

A supervisor steps in a puddle on a walk around in the warehouse. She asks the warehouse manager to clean it up. He does, and the walk around continues.

Is this even a near miss? It might not seem like a near miss, but someone could have slipped and injured themselves in other circumstances.

Following a near-miss report, it was found that a small leak in the roof light above is causing the puddle after heavy rain. The roof was fixed, preventing the issue from getting worse and removing the slip hazard once and for all.

Example 5 – The Swivel Chair

A worker stands on a chair to reach some items on a shelf that are out of reach. The chair swivels, and the worker jumps down. The worker steps back up on the chair to retrieve the items.

The worker doesn’t think there’s anything wrong. He always stands on a chair to reach the shelf. And he never gets hurt. He doesn’t have a crystal ball to see that if he does it again next week, when the chair swivels, he will lose his balance and fall, breaking his back.

But a colleague reports the near miss.

The investigation following the report identifies that the items stored on the shelf are in regular use, and chairs and other makeshift items are often stood on to reach them. Storage is rearranged to bring regularly used items within reach of floor level to reduce work at height, and safer access equipment is provided for those items out of reach.

These are 5 simple examples of how near-miss reports can provide clues to a more serious issue. The valuable information reported can be acted upon to prevent more serious accidents from occurring due to bad practices.

Taking action following near-misses will not only protect the safety of your workforce but also improve your monitoring procedures and help your organisation comply with its legal duties.

When implemented well, a near-miss reporting programme is a very effective proactive safety programme to reduce accidents and improve health and safety on site. By identifying and addressing the hazard reported, you can take action before an accident occurs.

5 Examples Of How Near Miss Reporting Can Stop Accidents – Often, the action needed is simple and easy to take, like changing a work procedure, providing training, or moving an item of equipment.

This article was written by Mathew Oldham (HSQE Consultancy Ltd). Mathew has over 20 years of experience in health and safety and an MSc (Hons) in Construction Management. Mathew is NEBOSH Health and Safety, Construction, Fire, Environment and Diploma qualified and CertIOSH.

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