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Health and Safety Information Bulletin 20: Importance of Near Miss Reporting

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What is a near-miss?

A “near-miss” is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so. Other familiar terms for these near misses are a “narrow escape” or in the case of moving objects, “near collision” or a “near hit”.

The importance of a near-miss report

  • Injuries and illnesses can be prevented and lives saved by reporting near-miss incidents
  • Reporting a near miss helps to establish and continue safe practices
  • Information provided enables an employer to communicate facts, causes, and corrective actions to all employees regarding near misses
  • It provides valuable information to employees about how to avoid/prevent future incidents, accidents and injuries
  • It provides an opportunity to improve safety, health, environmental, and security of any operation
  • Prevent repeat of the near-miss/incident/accident
  • Helps to formulate strategies
  • Increases productivity
  • Improvement of operational and safety procedures
  • Raise safety awareness level
  • Reduces tolerance for risk
  • Tool to identify workplace hazards
  • Enhances the safety culture of the workforce

The aim of the near-miss investigation

The aim of the investigation is not to lay blame but to find out what happened and determine immediate and underlying root causes. It involves fact-finding:

  • What happened?
  • What was the root cause?
  • What should be done to prevent a repeat of the incident?

The key result should be to prevent a repeat of the same incident.

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