Near miss or near hit?

When accidents don’t happen, people breathe a sigh of relief and then forget about them. They see a near miss as a lucky break, but don’t see that they may not be so lucky next time!

Technically, near misses have to be reported, but, more often than not, they aren’t – because they’re not seen as important. A near miss that has not led to harm or injury should still be reported in-house to allow improvements to working practices to be made.

Near misses can happen when equipment doesn’t work and is ‘fixed’ on the fly’ without considering that this could result in disaster – lives lost, injuries, expensive equipment and products damaged (written off), and damage to the company reputation.

The problem is that often, staff know, managers and/or directors don’t and, as long as nothing goes wrong nobody finds out. Too many people have the mindset that it didn’t happen so it’s not an issue – WRONG!

A near miss is also a near hit – and if you can educate your staff into seeing close calls as near hits, it could make a real difference to the number of actual accidents you have to deal with that lead to harm.

A near hit is often perceived as much more serious and forms are filled in more often or the issue is raised with management to get the dangerous/potentially dangerous set of circumstances known to find a way of to stopping that same near hit happening again.

As a part of the accident and incident investigation process, identifying the root cause of a potentially dangerous incident can stop wide range of incidents. Accidents can be preceded by near hits (near misses) that have gone unreported. It’s the domino effect – one incident leads to another and you end up with a string of incidents. If you take just one domino out you stop the chain.

Isn’t it worth educating your people to see that reporting near hits can save lives and prevent injuries in the future? They’re not just a lucky break.