Safe & Sound

Near Misses

Near miss definition: An unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness or damage – but had the potential to do so.

Source: Fact sheet from OSHA and the National Safety Council

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 University’s safety culture.

All incidents, especially near misses, should be reported to immediate supervisors and investigated.

OEHS 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 which can be used to engage OEHS.  Click here for more the hazard/near miss report. 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 work sites. OEHS 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. OEHS’ reporting tool allows for anonymous reporting.