Improve Your Workplace With a Near Miss Program

Improve Your Workplace With a Near Miss Program

A near miss program creates the optimum perfect opportunity to capitalize on close calls. According to a fact sheet from OSHA and the National Safety Council, a near miss is an unplanned event that didn't result in damage, illness, or injury - but had the propensity to do so. With near misses, only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented damage, fatalities, or an injury. After you breathing a sigh of relief, it's imperative to learn from the situation with a near miss reporting program.

Why Should Employers Use Near Miss Reporting Systems

Near miss reporting programs provide an intuitive look at the environment and factors that almost caused a catastrophic accident. By doing so, you will gather valuable data points and be better prepared to prevent it from happening again. Some of the most important pieces of information provided by near miss reporting include data for correlation studies, trend analysis, statistical analysis, and performance measurement.

As the quintessential component of a successful safety management system, the near miss reporting system presents the perfect opportunity for universal employee participation. It also fosters a healthy and open corporate culture where everyone contributes and shares in a manner that is conducive to their and their fellow workers safety. At the same time, near miss reporting can be used as a leading indicator of performance in balance with various other lagging and leading performance measures.

Guide for Implementing a Near Miss Reporting Program

Just because the incident didn't result in a loss, illness or damage doesn't mean it should go unnoticed. Near misses represent the perfect time to improve and prevent incidents from becoming catastrophic accidents.

When developing a near miss program, it's imperative leadership establishes a reporting culture that reinforces opportunities for identifying risks, controlling hazards, reducing risks, and preventing harmful incidents.

It's vital to the success of your near miss program it remains:

  • Non-punitive, which means there are no repercussions for reporting near misses
  • Anonymous if the individual reporting desires so
  • Strictly investigative to identify the weakness in the system and root cause that lead to the near miss

All information gathered from the investigation should be used to improve risk reduction, hazard control, and safety systems. Each near miss represents the optimum opportunity for performance feedback training, and the rigorous drive toward continuous improvement. By implementing an effective near miss program, you increase the likelihood of preventing fatal, serious, and catastrophic incidents, which are less frequent, but exponentially more harmful than other incidents.

Bolstering Employee Buy-In for Near Miss Reporting

Even with the most anonymous and effective near miss program, some of your employees may be reluctant to buy-in. Yet, it's imperative for the success of the program, safety of the your workers, and your bottom line to make every feasible effort to encourage participation. A few key steps you can take to bolster employee buy in include:

1. Make sure your policies and procedures are clearly communicated and strongly endorsed by senior management.

2. Create a viable culture of reporting with the support of supervisors and managers.

3. Educate workers on the seriousness of the issue and why near miss reporting is vital, the essential role each person plays, and the procedures for reporting near miss incidents.

4. Ensure your near miss reporting process is simple to use and understand.

5. Use the data from near miss reporting as a leading indicator and share the information back with the organization on the positive initiatives taken to bolster safety in the workplace.

6. Reinforce the fact near miss reporting will not result in negative actions.

7. As a part of new employee orientation, include a section on near miss reporting and the place it has in the organization.

8. Celebrate the overwhelming success of near miss reporting with the entire organization.

Offer Incentives for Near Miss Reporting Adherence

You can also consider offering incentives to enhance the corporate culture and encourage near miss reporting. In any case, incentives that possibly discourage near miss reporting should be avoided. An excellent example of a strong incentive is one that acknowledges the participation of workers in the reporting and recognition of hazards.

This simple activity helps support and enhance the reporting culture, continue the process of risk reduction, and engage the workforce in safety activities that are meaningful. An example of a poor near miss reporting incentive is one that only recognizes management and supervisors for performance strictly based on OSHA recordable rates. These types of incentives have historically been proven to lead to punitive actions that undermine safety efforts and suppress near miss reporting.

Contact Premier Safety Partners to Develop a Near Miss Program

Simply put, those who fail to learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them, and the next near miss incident may result in a catastrophic fallout. Protect your company and implement a near miss program with the assistance of the health and safety experts at Premier Safety Partners.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary on-site consultation.

About the Author

Scott Ray is an industry leader in Health and Safety. Recognized for his business acumen and innovative approach, Scott has a track record in successfully implementing H&S systems that result in fostering a culture of operational excellence. His 25 year Health and Safety career includes both technical and leadership experience within diverse industries including energy/utilities, manufacturing, higher education, construction, defense and aerospace.