"That Was a Near Miss!”

You are walking down the hallway, and find yourself slipping on a patch of water which had not been cleaned up. As you slip, you are thinking, “oh no, I’m going to break an arm which means an LTI (lost time injury) for my department, and time and expense for me”.

But you are OK. You manage to stop your fall with the wall, and after catching your breath, you go on your merry way.

Should you report it? Nothing happened.

The clear answer is yes. A near miss is a reportable incident. Even if “nothing happened”.

By definition, a near miss is an occurrence that might have led to an injury or illness, danger to someone’s health, and/or damage to property or the environment.

A dangerous incident, according to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, is “a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure”.

However, reporting near misses can be a bit… hit and miss.

Without appropriate training and encouragement, employees can sometimes be hesitant to report a near miss for fear of getting into trouble or “ruining the stats”.

In an organisation with a strong safety culture, employees report near misses in order to reduce actual injuries. It’s part of a continuous process to identify and rectify issues.

A near miss indicates there is a problem: a lapse or a hazard in the safety measures. If you ignore a near miss, the problem still exists. By encouraging near-miss reporting, you are encouraging a healthy, proactive safety culture that prioritises people over statistics.