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The MVP of Safety is Your Near Miss Program

By Darcy Cook, CSHO, SHS, PTA, Safety Trainers

Near miss incidents occur every day in the workplace and can be anything from a slip on a wet floor to a missing guard on a piece of equipment being operated which could result in an amputation. 

OSHA defines "a near miss as an incident where no property was damaged and no personal injury was sustained," but if any variable were changed it could result in an injury or damage to the business.

Consider the following steps for setting up a successful near-miss program:

  • Create a clear definition of a near miss
  • Create a report
  • Review Reports
  • Analyze the causes of the problem
  • Identify solutions to the problem
  • Delegate responsibility to make corrective actions
  • Share information with employees and management

It is important to take time to do the analysis. Determining the root cause of the near miss will help to prevent and/or eliminate future risks. Sharing the results and engaging employees in the entire process will build a culture of safety in your company.

Benefits include:

  • Provides an opportunity to develop improved safety measures around a known issue.
  • Pro-actively reduces the risk of hazards that can cause injury or damage to personnel, equipment or the environment.
  • Becomes a leading indicator for safety performance.
  • Promotes workplace safety by engaging all levels of personnel in problem solving.
  • Increases safety accountability and ownership.
  • Uncovers valuable information that might otherwise go undiscovered.

Here are ways to encourage employee participation to report near-misses:

  • Train employees to properly recognize and spot hazards and near-misses and the importance of reporting them.
  • Provide a system to report near-misses easily and any safety.
  • Provide timely feedback to the employees on their suggestions and/or concerns
  • Inform and train all employees on newly discovered safety hazards and any new preventive measures installed to address the potential hazard.
  • Offer simple, non-monetary incentives for reporting near-misses such as a certificate of appreciation.
  • Celebrate and share the success of the near-miss reporting program with all employees. For instance, lower incidences of injuries and the potential savings to the company as a result of the prevented accidents.


Darcy Cook is President of Safety Trainers, a division of Cook Professional Resources, Inc. (Worcester, MA). She can be reached at (508) 799-2857 or at [email protected] or www.safetytrainers.com

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