The practicalities of near-miss reporting

It’s pretty obvious that the best people to report near-misses on the worksite are the people on the worksite. They are generally closest to both cause and effect of any near-miss and can provide a rich set of data which can help to understand and mitigate any future incidents

However – there are also some obvious issues when we rely on staff to report near misses:

Staff are too busy to report near-misses

If a near-miss is not deemed important enough by staff then it may not be reported – staff are constantly juggling priorities and getting the job done can often trump safety considerations. Any reporting system must be low-friction – easy to access and fast and simple to use.

Staff have no easy way to report near-misses

If a near miss occurs on a worksite staff may have to go to another location to report them – or even worse there may not be any system for reporting in place. These are all obstacles to effective reporting

Paper based near-miss reporting systems are too cumbersome

Many businesses rely on paper based reporting systems – so when a near miss is observed a form must be completed and processed. This leads to obvious questions – where are the forms stored, how quickly are they processed, how is data analysed. There are many flaws with paper based systems – not least the fac that they often end up in a folder with no clear record of associated actions taken to address the original report

There is no effective follow up for near-misses

Whatever form is used to report a near miss a key output of the reporting process should be some kind of follow-up – generally an individual or group of people should be allocated actions which will help to mitigate the effect of future similar events. Actions should be centrally managed and action owners should be made aware when they receive actions and when actions are overdue

We’re not claiming that our near-miss reporting system is the answer to every issue around near-miss reporting, but we do believe it will significantly improve the frequency, accuracy and effectiveness of reporting on any worksite

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