What Is A Near Miss?

What Is A Near Miss

A near miss is an incident which results to no injury, no damage to property/equipment/machinery, and no environmental effect but has the potential for all those. It is mostly overlooked on site because it presents no negative impact. Though it poses no immediate negative impact, it can present us with trend of events which may result to serious damage and losses if properly investigated.

What Is A Near Miss?

OSHA defines a near miss as an incident in which no property was damaged and no personal injury was sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage or injury easily could have occurred.

Near miss is a subset of incident. Incident is made up of accident + near miss. The difference between near miss and accident is that; accident could result to injury, damage to property/equipment/machinery or damage to environment while near miss results to zero damage.

Examples Of Near Miss

Here are some practical examples:

  • Someone was pushed out of a pick-up truck in error when the vehicle was still in motion. He falls to the ground, rolled over but was not injured.
  • When hoisting an electric motor in the engine room, the welding broke on the lifting eye to which the chain block was attached, the electric motor fell from a height of about 3meters and landed just centimeters from the crewman operating the chain block.
  • An employee trips over an extension cord that lies across the floor but avoids a fall by grabbing the corner of a desk.

Why Near Miss Reporting And Investigation Is Important

It should be reported because:

  1. It is could have been a product of an unsafe act or unsafe condition.
  2. May have resulted from a failed control.
  3. Subsequent incident may present dire consequence.
  4. When near miss is reported and investigated it helps determine the root causes and implement appropriate controls accordingly.
  5. It will help prevent accident
  6. Increase number of near misses preparing a platform for an accident to occur.
  7. Helps create a culture that seeks to identify and control hazards, which will reduce risks and the potential for harm, etc.

When near misses are reported and properly investigated, accident will be prevented, and early detection of failures will be enhanced.

How To Write A Near Miss Report

Writing report for near misses is not so different since it is equally an incident report. It takes almost the same pattern. Follow the steps below:

  • Create a clear description of the near miss.
  • Investigate and assess the possible causes of the problem.
  • Identify solutions to the problem and design an action plan to solve the problem.
  • Prioritize action plan and classify information for future actions.
  • Distribute the investigation report to the people involved in the near miss, and management staff.
  • Resolve all actions and check any changes.


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