The Importance of Near Miss Reporting
The bottom line is that for most workplaces, accidents do happen. Some are avoidable, but over the long-term, it is inevitable in some industries.
However, statistic show that for every serious accident that does occur, there are many more minor accidents taking place. And for every one of those, there are several close calls.
For every serious accident, there are almost 30 minor injuries and 300 near misses. This is referred to, in the insurance industry, as the “safety triangle.”
Prudent managers will know to learn from those close calls and use them as an opportunity to educate employees and enhance workplace safety.
This is only effective if managers are aware of the potential hazards. Front-line employees need to feel encouraged to report near misses to their managers without fear of retaliation.
There are many good reasons to take a proactive approach to reporting accidents. Perhaps most importantly is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA, requires the reporting of any workplace fatalities within eight hours. That federal agency also requires other incidents to be reported within 24 hours, including amputation, loss of an eye or anything that results in an employee being treated at a hospital as an inpatient.
Fortunately, many workplace injuries can be avoided through better employee training. Managers can also prevent their employees from being injured by looking for patterns.
Maybe there’s an unsafe piece of equipment that needs to be replaced. Perhaps employees have been using it wrong and have developed bad habits. If those employees then go on to train other employees incorrectly, your risks multiply over time. Maybe the same employees are involved in multiple incidents and need more specific training. Perhaps their managers oversee frequent close calls and need to take more steps to enhance safety.
Any near misses need to be brought up in the Safety Committee meetings that your organization should be having anyway. There needs to be an honest, open discussion about what happened. Minutes of that discussion need to be recorded so that OSHA officials can access that information during an inspection.
Ultimately, you want to make sure to document that the incident occurred and that it was talked about among the people involved and their supervisors. Those minutes should reflect that prevention and safety enhancement measures were part of the discussion.
It’s important to remember that the purpose of those meetings is not to assign blame. The point is to make sure that the workplace is safer for everyone involved. You need to be proactive, take employee concerns seriously and act on them.
If you need any more information, you can contact the highly trained staff at ABI Insurance.
ABI Insurance carries commercial insurance. Its team of qualified professionals are fully equipped to help you manage risks and ensure that your business is protected and you’re covered in the event that anything happens.
For more information on the products and services offered by ABI, call 503-292-1580.