An employee walks down the hall, stepping over an extension cord stretched across his path. He turns a corner and nearly collides with another worker. To avoid the collision, he steps to the side, spilling coffee onto the floor and inadvertently jostling a shelving unit, on which a tool placed close to the edge of the top shelf falls and hits the ground. No one is hurt in this fictional scenario. However, the employees in it experience multiple near-miss situations – any one of which could have led to a serious injury.
OSHA and the National Safety Council defines a near miss as an “unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.”
Some people may be tempted to write off near misses as “no harm, no foul” situations. As a safety conscious team here at Geo, it is our responsibility to determining how and why near misses occurred, and take corrective action and communicate to prevent similar – or more serious – incidents from happening in the future. I am encouraging you to report near misses to your foreman or myself and gain an opportunity to prevent future incidents.