Blog Post

Near Miss Reporting: How to Spot the Symptoms of Safety Risks

Posted by Elaine Christie

Leader explains safety and reporting near-miss accidents to his crew

You can’t afford to ignore near misses. They help to identify risks, prevent accidents, and save a LOT of money.

Based on new cost-of-living adjustments for 2022, OSHA’s maximum penalties will increase from $13,653 per violation to $14,502 per violation. The maximum penalty for “willful or repeated violations” will increase from $136,532 per violation to $145,027 per violation.

Why Safety Documentation Matters

The importance of tracking near misses can’t be overstated. Given the potential consequences of a safety incident, it’s never wise to be haphazard about safety reporting.

Documented properly, near-misses can help to identify hazards or weaknesses in risk management programs, reduce workplace accidents overall, and increase company safety culture.

Even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records due to company size or industry must notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related injury. However, OSHA doesn’t require employers to develop “preventative” programs. This means that unfortunately, most companies take a reactive approach:

  • problems are addressed after a worker is injured or becomes sick
  • safety issues get updated after a new standard or regulation is published
  • problems get fixed after an outside inspection finds a problem

How to Identify a Near Miss

Near misses are symptoms of undiscovered safety concerns – and a valuable source of information.

But a near miss is not the same as an incident. OSHA defines an incident as “an unplanned, undesired event that adversely affects completion of a task.” In contrast, OSHA defines a near miss as “incidents where no property was damaged and no personal injury sustained, but damage and/or injury could easily have occurred.”

Put another way, given a slight shift in time or position, there was potential for more serious consequences.

Here are just some examples of a near miss:

  • Unsafe conditions
  • Unsafe behavior, such as a worker modifying personal protection equipment for comfort
  • Minor incidents and injuries that had potential to be more serious
  • Events where injury could have occurred but didn’t
  • Events where property damage could have resulted but didn’t
  • Events where a safety barrier was challenged, such as a worker bypassing a machine guard
  • Events where potential environmental damage could have resulted but didn’t

How to Document a Near Miss

Remember – the best strategy is to become proactive, not reactive.

Developing a near-miss plan isn’t strictly about creating better workplace safety. It’s also a step toward improving compliance with laws and regulations; reducing costs (including potential reductions in workers’ compensation premiums); engaging workers; and enhancing overall business operations.

To become proactive, make sure that everyone on your team has safety software to easily record any near misses.

Indeed, OSHA advises that safety software be easily accessible to everyone: “If a computerized reporting system is used, ensure that all employees have the basic computer skills and computer access sufficient to submit an effective report.”

That’s where Device Magic really shines.

Device Magic web mobile forms

Device Magic’s custom form software allows you to create a near-miss report that is customized to your unique needs.

✓ It helps you document, analyze, and report near-miss incidents to prevent future accidents.

✓ It has a simple drag-and-drop interface that’s easy to use, review, submit, and save.

✓ It lets you build a form with photos, free text, questions and answers, and even a place for an employee signature.

✓ It lets teams access and work even without an internet connection – ensuring that everyone is able to log in anywhere, anytime, to document a near miss.

✓ It lets teams update forms on any device. With Device Magic web forms app, users can complete forms on a desktop or laptop using a web browser. This means your team will have access to the same forms and data collection capabilities whether they are using the web or mobile forms app.

Near Miss Reporting: Safety Software for All

Think of a near miss as an opportunity to do better — and to create a safer workplace. Implementing a near-miss reporting policy is one way to reduce the number of incidents each year.

Device Magic has a lot of features to help with the required oversight and communication related to workplace safety and health. Using custom forms will help you to gather the necessary details you need to document, analyze, and report these incidents to prevent future accidents.

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