OSHA defines a near miss as an unplanned event in which no property was damaged and no personal injury was sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage or injury easily could have occurred. Reporting near misses can help prevent future workplace incidents by alerting EHS professionals of potential hazards and unsafe conditions.
Some health and safety professionals also refer to near misses as close calls, narrow escapes, good catches, or near hits.
Unlike a near miss, an accident is a type of incident that does cause an employee injury or illness, or property damage.
Because near misses don’t have serious effects, they can go unreported in some workplaces. This is unfortunate because these events are usually caused by a series of dangerous conditions that will eventually result in an accident if they go unaddressed. In other words, a near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen.
That's why OSHA strongly encourages employers to investigate ALL incidents regardless of their severity. By investigating these close calls, EHS professionals can prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future and can better identify workplace hazards.
Want to see how you can start recording near miss incidents? Download our near miss incident sample form!
The difficulty in defining near misses is that the definition is based on what did not happen. Safety professionals recommend defining near misses broadly to include both events, unsafe conditions, and unsafe acts. Examples include:
Reporting near miss incidents can significantly improve worker safety and enhance an organization’s safety culture. The National Safety Council (NSC) and OSHA recommend implementing the following best practices for near miss reporting:
Safety professionals use near miss forms to collect relevant incident data during an investigation. On near miss forms, investigators will record the who, what, where, and how of the incident.
There are many different types of incident forms. Most forms contain the following information:
At Vector Solutions, we utilize a configurable template that includes all of these fields and more.
You can view an interactive version of an Vector EHS Management incident form by signing up for a demo of our Software and navigating to our Incidents module. Contact us for more information about Vector EHS's incident management software.
Numerous organizations throughout North America rely on Vector EHS's incident management software to record and analyze safety incidents and generate OSHA recordkeeping logs. Vector EHS's easy-to-use forms make it simple to collect data for multiple types of incidents, including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries.
Users can analyze trends, perform root cause analysis, and assign corrective actions to better understand the causes of near misses and prevent serious incidents from occurring.
Vector EHS's public web form also enables all of an organization’s stakeholders to report near misses and other types of incidents via a simple web link. Users can even report incidents using a mobile device or tablet.
Interested in learning more about Vector EHS Management software and how it can help you prevent near miss injuries? Contact us to get an overview of what Vector Solutions has to offer.