Using Near-Miss Reporting to Make the Workplace Safer
Picture this: an employee is walking down a hallway and almost bumps into a coworker. To avoid the collision, he sidesteps, but the coffee in his hand spills all over the floor and he instead bumps into a bookcase which causes a picture frame to fall off the top of it, breaking it. No one is hurt in this situation, but at any point any of these small incidents could have been more serious and led to something more costly than replacing a picture fame.
Accidents like the above scenario happen all the time. But is it possible to prevent them? By tracking, reporting and taking corrective action on what are called “near miss” situations, workplaces can help prevent repeat incidents from occurring, thereby reducing the chances that more serious accidents occur.
What is a Near-Miss?
OSHA defines a near-miss incident as an unplanned event that doesn’t result in injury or damage but has the potential to cause harm to employees, the company or the environment. Often, near-miss incidents aren’t reported unless a specific program is in place to address them. Creating and implementing a culture of safety throughout your organization can help to encourage near-miss reporting.
How Can Near-Miss Reporting Help to Reduce Recordables?
Using near-miss reporting data can help to identify the root cause of any potential issues and provide solutions to mitigate risks before they become recordable incidents.
There are three key reasons to implement near-miss reporting:
- Proactive Hazard Mitigation
- Employee Support
Pharma-Safe’s team of experienced safety personnel can help your company utilize the data from near-miss reporting to make your workplace safer. From investigations and safety audits to training your employees, our highly skilled and certified safety technicians can assist you in making your workplace more secure for your employees, your company and the environment.
During the investigation of a near-miss incident, be thorough. Even investigating something as simple as a narrowly-missed fall due to an unsecured cord could help to prevent future incidents from occurring. During the investigation, it may be determined that the unsecured cord could be moved so it’s not obstructing the walkway. The cord is then moved and secured, preventing anyone else from tripping. Conducting thorough investigations may also uncover other similar hazards which can be mitigated during or after the investigation.
Pharma-Safe safety professionals can assist with near-miss and accident investigations and can help you to determine what acts or unsafe conditions need to be corrected.
Proactive Hazard Mitigation
By conducting an investigation into the near-miss incident, you have the opportunity to correct potential problems before they cause an actual accident. When you correct the issues that have been reported, it also shows your employees that you are serious about creating a safe workplace for them. If one of your employees drops a tool from a platform, the investigation would show that the tool slipped through the openings in the base of the platform. To alleviate the hazard, you could choose to cover the bottom of the platform with a piece of plywood or a rubber mat. Having these reports for new employees training purposes can also help prevent future incidents by introducing mindfulness to these situations into your onboarding process.
Pharma-Safe can assist you with a safety audit to identify areas for improvement and deliver recommendations on the proper way to correct issues or employee behaviors.
Sharing the details and results of a near-miss investigation can show employees their input is important and valued. Give kudos to employees who report the incident, maybe even a small reward like a gift card. Employee attitudes toward safety and reporting improve when they see they aren’t going to be punished or shamed for reporting something unsafe, but potentially rewarded instead. You might also consider creating a way to let employees report near-misses anonymously.
Pharma-Safe can help by training your employees on a behavior-based safety program. Our highly-trained safety consultants can also provide on-site customized training based on your organization’s needs.
Near-Miss Reporting Pays Off
Your overall safety culture will improve by implementing near-miss reporting, leading to less accidents actually occurring. The support and buy-in of all employees across the organization is key to making your safety program a success, and offering an incentive to report near-misses can encourage an internal reporting culture. By combining near-miss reporting with your current safety program, you can help to decrease recordable incidents while maximizing cost savings and productivity.
Contact Pharma-Safe to find out how we can use the near-miss data you’ve collected to create a safer workplace.