Don’t Ignore Near-miss Reporting: Here’s Why
Following a serious accident on-site, many employers respond by re-evaluating their workplace risks and controls to determine what went wrong and how they can reduce the likelihood of future incidents. But in reality, many work-related accidents can be prevented altogether with the implementation of an effective near-miss reporting system. Indeed, the HSE defines a near-miss as an incident that didn’t cause any harm, but had the potential to result in on-site injury or ill health. For example, if a workplace lacks proper methods to limit slip and trip hazards, an employee could nearly fall on an unlabelled slippery floor—but if the worker manages to steady themselves before falling, the incident would be considered a near-miss.
And while it might be easy to ignore near-miss incidents on-site, it’s crucial that your organisation takes these occurrences seriously. After all, recent data found that for every workplace accident, there are approximately 90 near-misses. Put simply, creating a policy and procedure for reporting near-miss incidents will encourage your employees to play a more active role in health and safety efforts, provide valuable documentation for you to analyse when updating your workplace risk assessment and—above all—help prevent similar accidents from taking place. Use this guidance to implement an effective near-miss reporting system:
- Utilise proper documentation—When a near-miss occurs, make sure the employees involved fill out an incident report form. The form should include the time and date of the incident, where it occurred, what work activities were taking place when it happened, the type of incident, and the names and roles of the workers involved.
- Provide routine training—Be sure to offer routine training for employees on the near-miss reporting process. At a glance, your workers need to know how to complete an incident report form, where to store reports and who to contact following an incident.
- Follow the law—Apart from internal reports, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 requires you to report some near-misses to the HSE. For more information, click here.
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