An employee is walking down a hallway, carrying a cup of coffee. While turning a sharp corner, they nearly collide with another employee, spilling coffee on the floor. Stepping into their office, the employee stumbles over an extension cord run across the doorway to power a printer, which pulls it to the floor.
No one is hurt in this scenario. However, the employees in it experience multiple near-miss situations – any one of which could have led to a serious injury.
It is important to have employees know how to identify these incidents as potential injury situations, called near misses. Besides identifying them, it is equally important to report them, so hazards and risks can be mitigated before they lead to a serious incident.
Workers should be trained on how to properly identify and recognize potential hazards. To help make it easy for employees to submit near misses and ensure good data, consider allowing them to turn in near-miss reports anonymously.
Collecting near-miss reports helps create a workplace safety culture that seeks to identify and control hazards, which will reduce risks and the potential for injury, according to OSHA. A well-run program goes beyond the collection of reports, it treats every near miss as important as an accident and investigates them. Conducting a root cause of a near miss can lead to a corrective action, before an injury occurs.
Need to learn more about how to conduct root cause analysis? Check out what The EHS Center offers here.
Reporting near misses and conducting a root cause of them, is only valuable if you complete the final step and correct the issues, otherwise the hazards remain a risk to employees.
Consider using an Action Plan tracking sheet, like this one to ensure identified issues are corrected.
A well laid out near miss program that involves properly trained employees, will decrease total workplace accidents over time. Don’t expect it to happen tomorrow, it can take 1-2yrs to see the changes. Don’t allow the program to slip in that time, because it requires long commitment to the program to reap the rewards.