Thursday, June 18, 2020

Categories of Near Miss

What is a “Near Miss”?

Various Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental activities involved a variety of very critical and fatal accidents that leads to severe human and financial losses both to the employer and the employees. If we go further, we will observe that most of the health and safety activities and tasks are being reactive and not proactive.  The organizations that take reactive measures will get an abundance of financial and business benefits as compare to non-serious employers. Most of the near-miss unwanted events often lead to business loss producing events but are largely ignored because no injury, damage or loss occurs. Due to this, employees are not acknowledgeable to report these close events as there has been no financial and business loss in the form of injuries or property damage. That is why most of the opportunities to prevent the accidents that the company has not yet had been lost.

What if Near Miss Reporting is Accomplished?

It is understood and proofed that If employees involved in the activities make proper and on-time near-miss reporting to the concerned and accountable person within the organization, the ratio of the severe fatal accident occurrences will reduce at the minimum level and will benefit both parties (Employer & Employees) and incidents can make a huge difference to the safety of workforce at all level within organizations. The proper documentation and recording such near-misses can also help identify any weaknesses in operational procedures.

How we Define a Near Miss?

As per the National Safety Council (NSC) and OSHA, near misses are unwanted, unexpected and sudden events that could have led to human harm and/or financial loss but didn’t—this time.

Examples of Near Miss

  • A worker trips over a vacuum trailing electrical cable on the carpet but survives from a fall by capturing the corner of a desk.
  •  A rolling over steel heavy pipe from a scaffold due to non-availability of toe-board nearly hits a worker underneath who jumps back just in time to avoid a disaster.
  •  Instead of using a proper ladder while replacing the spotlight in the false ceiling, a technician puts a plastic chair on top of a table, loses balance and fell to the ground. Although the technician is shaken, there is no injury.

So, it is understood the fact that reporting of even a minor near-miss occurrence will lead to hazard resolution and preventative measures. However, if the event isn’t reported or addressed and ignored, a serious human injury could easily result possibly only hours later from the same or similar circumstances.

That’s why reporting of any near misses is strongly recommended by OSHA. Although a near-miss system isn’t required under OSHA regulations and laws, the elimination of the observed hazards is encouraged. Continuously reporting allows you to correct unsafe conditions and reduce costs related to workplace human injuries.

The Reasons to Have a Proper Near Miss system.

  1. Now we will discuss the most important part of the near-miss topic that we required such a reporting system within the organization. The following are some points that will help us to understand the reasons:
  2. Maintenance and recording of Near-miss records is the basic requirement and request from insurance company and auditors.
  3. Recording the appropriate and proper data and information for statistical analysis and trending studies.
  4. We can prevent accident/incident because behind each accident/incident is hiding multiple near-misses
  5. Near-Miss reporting increases employee’s mutual relationships with each other and employers and encourage teamwork in creating a safer work environment and good positive health and safety culture
  6. We reinforce the idea that any dangerous situation should be dealt at the time of observation without any act of latency to avoid any fatal and critical situations.
  7. This demonstrates assumptions of behavior shift, responsibility-sharing, awareness, and incentive

The Involvement of Personals in Near-Misses.

  1. In each organisation, Occupational Health, Safety Environmental representative and project or worksite safety assistants should be hired, properly trained and then accountable to record near-miss accident/incident. In any near-miss situation being observed this becomes the priority for HSE representatives to get it solved and recorded.
  2. Project Line Manager or Site engineer will be in charge to check if they collect enough near-miss cards and must support actions if necessary
  3. HSE department will be in charge to control and records the Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Near Miss Categories

Now we will discuss some of the near-miss incidents possible categories, that could be the following:

A. Slipping or Tripping

Slipping, Tripping, and Falling (STF) are some of the most common worksite accidents. To know the key areas at the worksite that are most prone to trip and fall accidents will assist you to keep these areas safe and secure.

Some possible examples of near-misses at work include:

  • Inappropriate and poor lighting installation casing an employee’s tripping, and almost falling over an undetected and trailing extension cord. 
  • A humidity water droplets of leaky air conditioner drips onto an aisle, corridor or walking tacks resulting in an employee’s slipping and nearly falling. 
  • A missing or worn step rugs resulting in an employee’s tripping over a step

B. Risks of Fall

Most of the workplace accidents and potential injuries happened due to the fall, but

employees that carried out their work or activities at heights have to be even more

acknowledged and aware of worksite risks. Falling from inflated heights can lead to

critical fatal injuries and even death. Every incident, minor, major or even near miss,

should be immediately reported to help prevent future falls from occurring.

Some examples of near misses for workforce working at heights include:

Inappropriate and faulty scaffolding:

Mostly, various human severe injuries occur due to the insecure and faulty erection of scaffold structure and make.

A worker falls over misplaced roofing tools and is not wearing proper safety personal protective equipment and not following health and safety initiatives as per state’s required standards, laws and regulations. Proper documentation for such near misses can help workers be more aware of their surroundings and can help to prevent disastrous accidents in the future.

C. Hazardous Substance and Materials

This is another category of the near-miss possible causes, if workers involve using,

handle, transport or storage the chemicals or substance which have worse health impacts

on human. Moreover, storage or usage of such chemicals or substance close to hazardous

materials, all major or minor accidents and incidents must be appropriately documented.

Some examples of near misses for the workforce while working at Hazardous Substance and Materials could be:

  • Unavailability of smoking designated areas, so a worker tries to light a cigarette next to highly flammable chemicals, substances or materials.
  • Education and proper signage can help to reduce accidents related to hazardous materials.

D. Operating Equipment, Tools or Machinery

Technicians or workers are accountable for operating heavy equipment, machinery or tools should always be aware of the risks associated with operating, cleaning, assembling, and disassembling this type of equipment tools or machinery. Failure to utilize precaution and analyze risks when operating heavy equipment or machinery could lead to serious injury and death.

Some near-miss examples for employees handling heavy machinery, tool or equipment in the worksite include:

  • An employee slips and falls while trying to climb into the cab of a heavy lifting crane.
  • A worker can jump out of the way before being press between two large worksite heavy vehicles

How to Avoid Near Misses?

  • To avoid the occurring of any fatal and severe incidents and or accidents, proper health and safety training should be provided to all of the workforce.
  • As the employer has accountability and responsibility to do everything to ensure that employees are safe on the job.
  • Beyond documenting accidents when they happen, it’s important to also be diligent about reporting near misses.
  • By documenting potential hazards, bring awareness to high-risk situations and can put procedures in place that can reduce the number of workplace accidents.
  • One way as an employer to help reduce accidents is by offering training and education about workplace safety.
  • By educating employees on the importance of accident documentation, and show them how to document a near miss as well. When everyone is on the same page regarding safety and incident reporting, an employer can create a safer workplace.

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