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The importance of reporting near misses

Some companies do not require employees to report near misses, but the experts at the National Safety Council recommend that they have a reporting system in place.

The reason for not making reports is that no negative impacts were observed. Companies often do not want to make changes unless there is a clear reason to do so. As long as no one is hurt, they assume things are fine. This is a reactive approach, rather than a proactive approach.

The issue, naturally, is that a near miss can be a warning sign that something is going to happen in the future. Taking action before it does can prevent injuries, protect workers, avoid safety violations penalties and more.

When looking at common accidents, the need to react to near misses is obvious. For instance, if there's ice on the walk in front of a building and an employee almost slips and falls, it's clear that the company shouldn't wait for someone to actually fall before clearing the ice away. However, when it comes to processes and procedures within the workplace, this is often the approach the company takes.

There are a number of issues keeping near misses from being reported often enough, as well. For example, some employees think that making the report is just going to cause them to be blamed for what happened. If possible, they keep quiet simply to avoid the blame, even if that means someone else could be hurt in the same way if he or she is not lucky enough to avoid the accident.

Have you been injured in the workplace, and do you think not enough was done to keep you safe? You must know what rights you have to compensation.

Source: National Safety Council, "Near Miss Reporting Systems," accessed Oct. 20, 2016

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