What Near Misses Can Teach Us

When it comes to workplace safety, it’s important to look at the past, present and future. Looking back on what went wrong in order to improve, maintain employees present well-being and finally, ensure staff do not experience any form of harm throughout their entire working journey.

A key part in the process of improving employee safety is by analysing past situations. To see what could have been done differently. In other words, employers can utilise the ‘near miss situations’ experienced within their workforce. A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury but had the potential to do so. Only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented an injury from occurring.

Take this scenario as an example:

What near misses can teach us

An employee steps over an extension cord stretched across his path. He turns a corner and almost collides with another worker. To avoid the collision, he steps to the side, spilling tea onto the floor. They inadvertently hit a shelving unit, on which a heavy tool placed close to the edge of the shelf falls and hits the ground.

In this fictional scenario, no one is hurt. However, the employees in it experience multiple near-miss situations, any one of which could have led to a serious injury.

It’s easy to write off a near miss as it does not involve any critical consequences to those involved. Instead of adopting a ‘no harm done’ attitude, it’s beneficial to keep a track record in order to find solutions and ways in which accidents can be prevented.

Here are Guardian24’s 6 simple steps on how to deal with a near miss situation involving employees in the workplace. Using a structured procedure like, this can ensure measures are put into place to avoid accidents of a similar nature occurring.

In More Detail

  • What was the near miss? Identify what occurred within the situation.
  • Write it down. Formally make a note of the factors involved in the near miss situation in the form of a risk assessment. Organisations are required by law to make a note of all possible risks associated with an employee’s job role.
  • Distribute information. Inform the people involved about what could have occurred and let them review the risk assessment so they are educated on all the dangers associated with their job.
  • Analyse the causes. What could have caused a serious incident? For example, when looking at the fictional scenario, consider why an extension cord was left out as an obstruction to the employee.
  • Identify solutions to the problem. By looking at the potential causes, put together safety measures to ensure the same doesn’t occur again. E.g. ensure staff have clear, structured guidelines on how to pack away equipment and if they are required to wear any particular clothing.
  • Distribute the solutions. To ensure for a coherent understanding of the safety measures among your organisation, provide staff adequate training in areas such as first aid, fire and manual handling. Once safety procedures become a habit, it will be become second nature for employees to take extra care when carrying out their roles.

Another way in which staff’s safety can be controlled is by implementing a reliable service. Individuals working alone may be exposed to even higher risks than those working with others. In the event of a real-life emergency calling for help could be difficult with no one around for immediate support.

2018-10-10T10:44:43+01:00May 2nd, 2018|