A study commissioned by the British government found that for every lost-time injury of more than three days, there were 189 non-injury cases. No business can afford to ignore these near misses, which provide invaluable opportunities to identify and correct safety hazards on the job before they lead to accidents or injuries.
However, according to an article in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) journal, employees often resist reporting these close calls for such reasons as fear of management retaliation, peer pressure, concern about a safety record, complicated reporting forms and lack of feedback.
To encourage employee reporting of near misses in the workplace, experts recommend these guidelines:
- Provide your employees with safety training.
- Develop strategies to measure how reporting near misses improves safety performance.
- Recognize and reward employees for proactive safety engagement.
- Have your safety committee oversee the reporting process.
- Provide incident investigations training for all managers that includes mentoring help for new staff members.
- Investigate everything! The time you spend investigating near misses will yield long-term rewards by eliminating the time, expense, and hassle of dealing with major (possibly fatal) injuries or property loss – not to mention the impact on productivity and workplace morale.
- Conduct comprehensive follow-up on corrective action plans. Ask who, what, and by when – and make sure that these changes are made.
- Report on all investigations. Making sure that every employee hears about every near miss will encourage reporting of future incidents, as workers realize that speaking out will help them do their work more safely.
Our agency’s specialists would be happy to provide their advice on encouraging your employees to help keep their workplace safe. Just give us a call.