Near misses are often seen as insignificant and are not reported. However, near misses should be seen as a chance to proactively resolve issues at your jobsite that are not functioning as they should.
As OSHA defense attorneys, we strongly recommend that you encourage all workers to report any type of health and safety issue including near misses. It helps everyone engage in solving workplace safety issues, strengthens the company’s safety program, and ensures that all employees work in a safe and healthy environment as mandated by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). This section will conclude our two-part series. Be sure to read part one.
Why Workers Don’t Report Near-Miss Incidents
As experienced OSHA lawyers, we know that incidents go unreported for a number of reasons. Even if no injury occurred, workers may be embarrassed by their role in an incident and may not report it because they don’t want to be labeled as incompetent. Workers may also fear that they will be reprimanded for the incident. Due to the physical and hazardous nature of the work performed by construction workers, they may become desensitized and may not even realize they were involved in a close call or may not consider the occurrence as a close call.
Some workers fail to report near misses because they consider reporting to be too time-consuming and not worth the trouble, or they may not even know how to go about reporting the incident or that a system even exists to do so. If an employee feels reporting could jeopardize a bonus or personal evaluation, they will not be motivated to report these incidents.
Tips for Improve Workplace Reporting
Overall, your recordkeeping processes are critical to your company’s safety program and culture. If you want to decrease the occurrence of near misses at your workplace, proactive measures need to be put in place to educate every worker on near misses. Workers need to understand the basics of what a near miss is and the benefits of reporting these incidents. A system for near miss reporting procedures is essential for preventing future accidents. Here are some tips:
- Develop a near miss notification policy and train workers
- Keep reporting simple and easy to use
- Have an easily accessible online or physical suggestion box
- Encourage workers to speak up and praise those who do
- Follow up with workers to show that you have addressed/corrected the issue
Prioritize your concern for everyone’s health and the desire to see them go home to their families every day.
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.