An employee walks across the site, stepping over an grout hose stretched across his path. He turns a corner and nearly collides with another worker. To avoid the collision, he steps to the side spilling hot coffee and inadvertently jostling a storage shelf, 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. Some people may be tempted to write off near misses as “no harm, no foul” situations. Near miss reporting does not focus on what happened; we look at what could have happened.
What and why
The attached fact sheet from 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.” The fact sheet stresses that although near misses cause no immediate harm, they can precede events in which a loss or injury could occur. GeoConstructors encourages the reporting of all near misses, so we gain an opportunity to prevent future incidents.
Reporting a near miss is a leading indicator to an accident that, if scrutinized and used correctly, can prevent injuries and damages.
Report and react
Collecting near-miss reports helps create a culture that seeks to identify and control hazards, which will reduce risks and the potential for harm, OSHA states there are three key elements of a successful near-miss program:
• We must carefully investigate it
• We must determine the root causes
• Company must implement appropriate controls accordingly
An incident in which a container used for discarded cigarettes was smoldering. To prevent this from happening again, workers were advised to properly extinguish cigarettes in the sand provided in the containers, and keep combustibles and other debris out of the containers. The intent is to learn the lesson once – at a near-miss level – implement appropriate controls and then share it amongst our projects to prevent similar accident potentials from happening.
The above three actions cannot take place without Employee participation in a near-miss program; It’s employees themselves who witness these things.
Several weeks ago we learned about Red Flags- these are the near misses on sites. Together WE are doing our best to keep the focus on lessons learned and what not to do, rather than focusing on who did wrong and assigning blame.
Reporting can be in a pic, a text, a email, a call, but without this communication it becomes “ what you saw and let’s keep up production”.
It is a proven fact that companies that implement near-miss programs see proven results improving safety!
We are 233 GeoSafe days, You are IMPROVING SAFETY!
See it, say it, fix it… and remember to report it so we can continue to grow our safety program together.