On the Safe Side…Should You Track Near Misses?

Should You Track Near Misses?

Sign for slipperyShould you track near misses at your place of employment? That is a good question, and if you don’t track near misses why not? A near miss is a warning sign that something is wrong and should be investigated with a corrective action taken. So your boss may not like the term “near miss;” well one large company I read about, Alcoa, uses the term “Injury-free events (IFEs),” but no matter what it is called it is an advance warning that an accident is waiting to happen. According to the National Safety Council seventy five percent of all accidents are preceded by one or more near misses; in other words a near miss should be a wake-up call.

Some workers may not want to admit to a near miss for fear that it may reflect in their performance evaluation. That is why a good management environment must be developed to encourage the reporting and tracking of near misses and to avoid laying blame. It should be the responsibility of everyone in the workplace to recognize and take action to prevent that “close call” from reoccurring and becoming a harmful accident.

The following is a list of question taken from a publication “Construction Business Owner” that you should ask when a near miss occurs.

How do you handle these incidents in your workplace?
What is your attitude toward a near miss?
Do you feel momentarily relieved that what happened wasn’t any worse?
Do you just return to your routine after a near miss occurs?
Do you simply tell yourself that you should be more careful next time?
Do you have a plan for preventing a repeat performance?

In closing, the danger in ignoring near misses that do not hurt, harm or damage is that they are a sign that something is wrong and needs to be corrected.

Do you have a near miss to share? What did you do to eliminate the potential for this to occur again? We’d love to here your stories; contact us at newea.org

On the Safe Side is provided by the NEWEA Safety Committee to help increase safety awareness in everyday activities. Thank you to Chris Hipkiss of NHWPCA Safety Committee and Winnipesaukee River Basin Program WWTF in Franklin, NH for sharing this article with us.

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