It could happen anywhere. The dried up concrete on the construction site that you almost tripped over, the power tool that provided a light, but prickly shock, or the hole in the roof that you barely sidestepped all represent dangers that you may narrowly overcome, but the next person that comes along may not. Statistics back this up. According to the National Safety Council, seventy-five percent of all accidents happened following one or more near misses. However, these near misses are not always reported causing companies to lose an important opportunity to build a safe environment for their employees.
In the first part of this series, we will define what a “near miss” is and identify some initial steps for addressing near misses in your company. The second part of this series will give additional tips.
How OSHA Defines a Near Miss
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a “near miss” is an “incident” that doesn’t lead to an injury or property damage, but could have given any shift in time or position. While this definition is important, it’s even more important for your company to determine how it defines a near miss. This definition will serve as the basis for how employees will report near misses as well as how near misses are evaluated and how the factors around them are reduced or eliminated. If you have questions about other OSHA policies, talk to an OSHA attorney at Cotney Construction Law today.
Encourage Blame-Free Reporting
Employees don’t want to report anything that would indicate an error in judgment on their part. However, this could prevent near misses from being reported and the system around them from being improved. That’s why the blame has to be taken out of this process. A culture must be built in which employees know what a near miss is and are encouraged to inform management without getting in trouble. Ways to do that include, making reporting anonymous or providing incentives for reporting.
Analyze The Near Miss
The point of near miss reporting is avoiding accidents. This starts with your approach to the near miss. It must be treated like an accident in which you analyze the situation to identify root causes. Once you have established the root causes for a near miss, you can put practices in place to eliminate the hazard.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.