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How To Report a Near Miss.

About near misses

In today’s workplace, companies cannot afford to ignore near misses.

The study shows that for every injury or accident at a workplace there are usually about 189 near miss reports.

Near miss Infograph

Near misses offer a great opportunity for identifying vulnerabilities at the place of work.

A near miss can be defined as an unexpected event that might have led to an accident or damage. The national safety council describes it as a fortunate break of events that prevent an accident.

If history is anything to go by, most near misses at the place of work are followed by serious accidents that might compromise the safety of workers and lead to great losses.

Importance of reporting near misses.

In most workplaces, a near miss might occur and no one would take notice.

Most of the people would think of how lucky they are to have avoided an injury then later forget about it.

Drive in almost collision situations

To begin with, it is important to identify and report the near misses and know what can be done to prevent them from causing serious accidents.

In an office situation, a cable extension might cause an employee to trip over it, there might be an open door that might just miss a worker by a couple of inches or a worker might lose balance and stumble due to the slippery tile floor.

Most of these near-miss cases go unreported for a couple of reasons including complex reporting procedures and unfriendly management relations.

10 Causes Why Workers Don’t Report Near-Misses In The Workplace

1. Fear

Workers think they’ll get in trouble for almost having an accident.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Instill a culture that highlights safety and concern for workers’ health. Make sure workers feel contented pointing out mistakes, whether it’s their own or within the workplace.

2. Missing structure for reporting

Yes—it sounds pretty obvious, but it’s very much the truth. More workers than you’d suspect find themselves with suggestions for safety improvements, but don’t know of any “suggestion box” at their place of employment.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Make a near-miss report form and a physical place to turn completed forms in. Then, make your whole team aware of the system. Let them know that it’s their opportunity to suggest improvements, and that all suggestions are welcome. You may be met with a few jokes or laughs, but the potential to avoid real accidents is more than worth it.

3. Bureaucracy

Workers think that the process to report a near-miss has too many steps, is too time-consuming or is otherwise too convoluted.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Use a short form to collect only the most essential information regarding the near-miss. Make the form available through means that your workers will use—whether that’s via a paper form in the break room or an online form that they fill in at home or on the go.

4. Embarrassment

Workers don’t want to be called on to explain their embarrassing accident.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Use an anonymous reporting procedure to collect close call data. Encourage a workplace that values safety reporting and praise workers who do come forward and share their near-misses.

5. Not worth the trouble:

Once a report is made, nothing is done to address or correct the catalyst of the near-miss; or, no follow-up is communicated with the team to let them know that something was done to prevent related future accidents.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Always, always take near-miss reports seriously. Read them, document them and investigate causes and potential effects. Devise a solution, and bring the entire analysis to a team meeting to discuss the event along with suggestions for how to avoid future accidents.

6. Lack of identifying a near-miss

Employees don’t even realize that an accident almost occurred; or, near-misses become so commonplace on the job that they’re perceived as a normal part of everyday work life.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: No one wants to sit through yet another safety seminar, but it’s important for all employees to recognize potentially dangerous situations … even the smallest ones. Consider bringing in an expert to remind the team about seemingly insignificant safety issues, or just hold an informal (and paid) workshop where team members take an active role by brainstorming near-miss situations and how to avoid them.

7. Loss of reputation

By owning up to a near-miss, workers may feel that others will see them as weak or accident-prone.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Spend a good amount of time praising those who speak up or follow the right safety practices. Use trusted, influential coworkers to spread the word that reporting close calls is always a good thing. Once enough positive vibes seep into company culture, workers won’t feel as worried about their reputation.

8. Workers Intimidation.

If reporting a near-miss affects safety statistics that are tied to bonuses, employees almost definitely won’t want to report them.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: Segregate your safety statistics by accidents and near-misses, and tie bonuses only to accident rate. You’ll still be able to see overall safety stats, but your workers’ bonuses won’t be affected by sharing opportunities for improvement.

9. Motivation for reporting near miss

Employees aren’t interested in reporting near misses.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: If your employees feel comfortable giving their names when reporting close calls, consider praising them at the next team meeting or providing a small bonus for their help making your job site a safer place to work. If you’re using anonymous forms, bring in a box of doughnuts for the team to thank them all for their help. Whatever you do, make sure reported events are positively recognized.

10. How To report near misses

There’s a reporting system in place, but no instruction was provided on when or how to report near-misses.

Battling the reasons for not reporting: When you introduce your system, or when you realize no one is turning in any reports, take a minute to get everyone together and show them how the reporting system works. Show them where to go to and what to do. Maybe it’s as easy as stopping by the foreman’s desk and having a quick chat; or, perhaps it just requires a few sentences on paper, left on the break room table. Either way, they won’t know unless you show them.

But what are the advantages of reporting near misses at the place of work?

According to the national safety council, employers are tasked with taking care of their workers by establishing near miss reporting procedures that work.

Companies that have better near miss report systems are more capable of preventing accidents, injuries, time delays and lose at the place of work.

The accident triangle from near miss, minor injuries and serious injuries.
The accident triangle

Tips to help encourage the employees to report near misses.

Give training to your employees to make sure they are conversant with the best practices for reporting. Encourage them to act on every near miss so as to help the company avoid and control hazards.

Create a non-punitive reporting system that allows the employees to stay anonymous. Sometimes all that is needed is a culture of trust that allows all the individuals to contribute and share thus improving on the safety condition in the workplace.

Learn to investigate the root causes [1] of every near miss so as to identify the weak links in the system before they lead to accidents. It is important to capture correlation studies and statistical data to be able to measure performance. This will enable rapid improvement in different areas of the company.

Use the collected results to improve safety conditions in the company. It is important to do this as it gives you information that you can use to train new employees on how to prevent accidents. This practice also goes a long way towards improving the company’s growth trajectory.

In most cases, near misses are a result of faulty management processes and unreliable systems. Trivial details in the place of work can cause serious damage that can cripple an organization. Instead of taking reactive safety measure, it is recommended to adopt proactive techniques such as the ones listed above so as to deal with near misses workplace-related accidents.


  • Well done for the information about near misses, it is a problem I face every day at work and injuries have occurred due to poor reporting or someone not taking the chance to eliminate the hazard because of obvious excuses like there wasn’t enough time to report or I forgot.
    Keep it up.

    • Thanks for the comment. Am still working on news and educative articles about safety in our work place and homes and personal safety.
      Cheers for visiting the site.


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