According to the Near Miss Reporting Systems fact sheet from OSHA and the National Safety Council, a near miss is defined as “an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage–but had the potential to do so.”
A near miss provides an opportunity to improve safety practices based on a condition or incident with a potential for more serious consequences.
History has shown repeatedly that most loss producing events (incidents), both serious and catastrophic, were preceded by warnings or near-miss incidents. Recognizing and reporting near-miss incidents can signiﬁcantly improve worker safety and enhance the university’s safety culture.
All incidents, especially near misses, should be reported to immediate supervisors and investigated.
EHS encourages supervisors to rank near misses by potential severity. If a near miss could have resulted in an injury or death, a full investigation should be conducted. The university has a reporting tool that can be used to engage EHS. If the near miss creates a condition that is less serious—such as a trip hazard due to an electric cord—the hazard should be abated and the risk communicated to everyone.
Lessons learned from near misses should be shared with employees through whatever platforms are available, including at departmental meetings and individual worksites. EHS communicates lessons learned from near-miss incidents in newsletters and safety bulletins. The intent is to learn the lesson once—at a near-miss level—implement appropriate controls and then share it amongst our campus communities to prevent similar accident potentials from happening
Employee participation in the U’s near-miss program is vital. The EHS reporting tool allows for anonymous reporting.