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Can Near-Miss Reporting Help Your Safety Program?

By Sally Murdoch

Analyzing near misses is a component of a near miss reporting system

Everyone knows safety doesn’t happen by accident. Reporting near misses is not only a good company-wide policy for transparency, but near-miss reporting also helps build a strong safety program overall. It’s important to reflect on near misses and use the lessons learned to improve your company’s broader culture of safety, even when incidents don’t lead to injury.

Another bi-product of reporting near misses, besides the fact that you can see patterns of near misses to better anticipate hazards or catastrophes, is that it opens a dialogue between employees and the safety management team, and can work to develop more relevant training programs.Infographic for near miss reporting system

By downloading the new near-miss infographic from Graphic Products for your facility, you and your teams can develop a solid near-miss system. The infographic also offers tangible examples of near misses and how reporting them can improve safety throughout a facility. As the infographic states, near misses show where workers need more information, and many times, custom labels and signage can avert hazards and near misses before they happen.

In a 2012 online article in Safety + Health Magazine by the National Safety Council (NSC), author Keith Howard points to the research work of Dr. Ulku Oktem, CEO of Near-Miss Management and Senior Fellow at The Wharton School. Oktem points out that near-miss reporting can lead to healthier profits for companies. She said, “Companies must remember a thorough near-miss investigation can save time and money by improving system reliability and minimizing the risk of an incident waiting to happen. People just cannot afford not to do it. By identifying near misses and taking care of them, you can improve profits, and you can prevent any potential accidents  that can happen to the people or the equipment.

Companies must remember a thorough near-miss investigation can save time and money by improving system reliability and minimizing the risk of an incident waiting to happen.

What Qualifies as a Near Miss?

OSHA defines a near miss as an unplanned event that did not result in injury illness or damage -- but had the potential to do so.

Safety + Health adds, “Near misses also may be referred to as close calls, near accidents, accident precursors, injury-free events and, in the case of moving objects, near collisions.”

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