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Near Miss -
The One That Almost Happened

Near miss- SafetyWhat is a "near miss?" Webster defines it as: "A result that is nearly, but not quite, successful." What does this mean to you and your business? Simply put, it means that a serious accident almost happened. Someone trips over an extension cord, but doesn't fall. Two forklifts almost collide at a blind corner. An object is dropped, but nobody is hurt… this time.

Statistics tell us that for every 300 near misses there is one serious injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4.2 million injuries occurred during 2005. If we multiply each injury by 300, the result is 1.26 billion near misses for 2005 alone. 

So what does this tell us? Probability tells us, if you reduce the number of near misses, you will then reduce the number of accidents.

The Same Things That Cause Accidents Cause Near Misses:

  • Unsafe acts, such as improper lifting; walking under an overhead load; cutting, grinding, or chipping without safety glasses; not using proper Personal Protective Equipment, etc.
  • Unsafe conditions, such as poor housekeeping e.g.; oil or grease on floors, extension cords that have been laid in walkways, trash and boxes that have been left in hallways etc.
  • Hurrying and taking risks to get a project done faster, or to wrap up a job at quitting time.  

Report Near Misses Before They Become Accidents:  

 

  • Once a near miss occurs, report it immediately to the a foreman or supervisor. The potential for such incidents exists all over the workplace, so all employees-not just supervisors-- must help identify them.  
  • If the near miss is a result of an unsafe condition, don't continue to work under that condition until the problem has been corrected and your supervisor gives the okay to proceed.  
  • If the incident is a result of unsafe acts, be certain that everyone involved has been alerted to their actions before they continue with the job.  

Near Misses Are A Warning:

 

Letting a near miss go unreported provides an opportunity for a serious accident to occur. Near Misses are our warning system, it's like an alarm going off telling you of  a possible future problem, don't hit the snooze button.

 

Correcting these actions or conditions will enhance the safety within your facility and provide a better working environment for everyone involved. Don't let yourself or co-workers become statistics, report near misses!

 

Help Prevent An Accident That's About To Happen!

 

 ASHI Authorized Training Center Member of the National Preparedness Coalition