Near Miss Reporting and Reducing the Likelihood of Accidents on Site

No company can guarantee 100% that accidents or incidents won’t occur but there are a number of simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of such events occurring.

Having a defined safety culture and a safe system of work in place is the best way to prevent accidents and incidents.

A good safety culture goes a long way to reducing accidents and incidents because there is a stronger likelihood of Near Misses being reported.

Why is this so important?

The definition of a Near Miss is ‘An unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so’. Simply speaking a Near Miss today could be an accident tomorrow. A Near Miss is often called ‘a close call’, ‘a narrow escape’ or in the case of moving objects, ‘a near collision’ or even ‘a near hit’.

It can be difficult to get staff to report near-misses as they are often seen as funny or embarrassing occurrences (until someone is hurt). This is why it is important to create a culture which encourages reporting of these accidents.

Consider the Safety Triangle on the right. A chap named Herbert Heinrich demonstrated that for every accident resulting in a fatality or major disabling injury, there are approximately 300 unsafe incidents.

By reducing the number of near-misses you also reduce the chance of the fatality occurring, because you have lowered frequency of at-risk behaviours.

So, it can be seen that the first step in helping reduce accidents is instigating a clear Near Miss Reporting regime.

Written by:

Ian James

MCIOB BSc (Hons)

Technical Director