Near Misses – Why Don’t You Report Them?

Near Misses – Why Don’t You Report Them?

Workers of all kinds face dangers and hazards on the job. Often coming close to an accident resulting in fatality or injury, these near misses are sometimes reported. But do we know how many are not reported, and better yet, why?

Winter Tower Climbing

If  employees are reluctant  provide information on near misses, what are the causes?  Here, in no particular order,  are our top 6 reasons we hear. What about you?

1. Futility – If the employee feels near misses are not treated seriously by the employer, they feel as if it is a “why bother” situation and disregard reporting.

2. Incentives –  Are there policies in place that promote a perfect safety record with a prize or reward? Do these policies create obstacles for people reporting near misses, including pressure from coworkers not to report?

3. Difficulty – Does the company make it difficult to report a near miss, with paperwork and bureaucracy?  If so, the reluctance on the workers part may simply because he does not want to do the extra work. Should supervisors be required to step in and fill out all necessary paperwork, making it easier for employees to come forward?

4. Personal Reputation – Workers do not want a reputation of being a tattle tale, or somehow a lesser in the eyes of their coworkers because of reporting near misses.

5. Aftermath – Workers are leery of more rules, regulations and policies that will make their jobs more difficult. Are they afraid that reporting an accident will cause more paperwork that they don’t want?

6. Fear – Afraid of being in trouble or reprimanded for something they perhaps did wrong, an employee may not report a near miss.

A cultural shift towards safety is happening, although slowly. Workers are thinking less with their egos and more with their minds about their safety & well being. Still, what can employers do to encourage near miss reporting to ensure the progress towards an accident free workplace? Create incentives for workers to discuss safety improvements openly, and make the process smooth and simple for reporting. The attitude towards reporting needs to change so it is seen as a positive throughout the workforce.

Be Safe!

Kevin Carter



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