September 20, 2023

5 Steps to Include in your "Near Miss" Safety Action Plan

“We don’t wait for accidents to happen; near misses are free lessons that I didn’t have to pay for," says Paul McAtamney H&S Field Manager with Safety First Consulting, an industry leader in workplace health and safety training.

It's how you address those "free lessons" that can help reduce risk and keep you ahead of potential workplace injuries.

A near miss or close call is an incident in which there is no injury or property damage, but, given a slight shift in time, position or environmental conditions, an injury or damage might well have occurred. From stair climbing, to stepping in and out of vehicles, or crossing different types of work surfaces, workers are moving throughout your work site, and they may face potential injury risks that are not identified in your current health & safety procedures.

Examples of near misses:

  1. A worker slips while carrying a heavy load but catches themselves before falling.
  2. A machine malfunctions and causes a loud noise but does not cause any damage.
  3. A chemical spill is quickly cleaned up before anyone is exposed to it.
  4. A worker trips on a loose power cord but does not fall.

Experts recommend all near misses be included in your health & safety reporting strategy.

These 5 steps can help you build your action plan or re-examine your current plan to ensure it is effective:

Step 1: Document the incident- collect data and details on each incident and include in your reporting.
Step 2: Identify the root cause - analyze the data and determine what is the source of the potential injury.
Step 3: Control the situation - develop a procedure to prevent the potential safety situation from re-occurring
Step 4: Communicate and train - ensure the new procedure is understood by employees. It's a new procedure so ensure you have a long-term communication plan for it so that it becomes fully integrated and understood.
Step 5: Regularly re-evaluate the procedure - situations and risks can be dynamic and the procedure to mitigate the potential risk should be reviewed regularly to make sure it's still effective.

You can find more information about this topic at Workplace Safety & Prevention Services here