A “near miss” refers to the few harrowing seconds during an accident in which someone narrowly escapes being seriously injured or killed. A near miss can be extremely scary, but they often serve the purpose of teaching lessons about a hidden safety risk. Reporting and investigating a near-miss through a thorough accident investigation allows us to take preventative measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. The following 5 videos show the various reasons why it’s important to report near-misses, or why it’s important to take safety measures to prevent any more “almosts”.
This “near-miss” shows a forklift falling off a platform after the truck inadvertently started rolling forward. Fortunately for the forklift operator, he was able to escape any injuries. In this case, it would have been a good safety measure to check that the truck’s emergency brake was on so that the weight of the forklift didn’t move the truck forward.
(Warning: the next one may be disturbing to some viewers)
In this case, the two flight attendants should’ve reported the faulty escalator so that no one got hurt by falling through the landing. Sadly for this woman, it was a fatal injury she sustained from the escalator.
This video clip actually points out the risks that occurred during this operation. Had they had been taken, the worker behind the pipe wouldn’t have almost been struck by it.
This truck was traveling way too quickly to have been able to safely avoid any hazards on the road. They also were traveling at a speed that made it nearly impossible to take that turn safely.
This factory worker was struck, but thankfully his helmet prevented him from receiving any serious injuries. The other factory worker was also spared.
A Near Miss and OSHA
OSHA defines near misses as “An unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.” They’re also referred to as “close calls”, “near hits” or near collisions”.
Incidents and near misses are required by OSHA to be investigated and reported. Even if an incident didn’t occur, the reporting and investigation of a near miss can help prevent future, and potentially more tragic, incidents.
The best way to react to a near miss is to be proactive, and have a near-miss reporting program. The National Safety Council suggests these best practices in implementing a near-miss reporting program:
- Leadership should strive to maintain and encourage a culture that participates in all reporting of near misses and risk identification. They should reinforce the notion that safety initiative can help prevent harmful incidents.
- Near miss reporting systems should not dole out any sort of punishment or blame; this will deter an employee from reporting it. There should also be an option for an employee to remain anonymous.
- Investigation of near-misses should aim to determine the root cause of the incident, and to identify weaknesses in the system or operation.
- Investigation results should be used to take corrective and preventative measures including training, more adequate equipment, or procedural changes.
- Near miss reporting is extremely critical in preventing serious injuries, fatalities, or other catastrophic events.
National Safety Council’s Near Miss Handout