Care for your co-workers: share safety
Show your co-workers you care on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year by helping them stay safe from injuries and accidents—even the ones that haven’t happened yet.
OSHA requires employers to track and report injuries and accidents—but what about ones that haven’t happened yet?
Near misses are when an employee almost has an accident or receives an injury. They provide valuable information about undiscovered safety hazards. Tracking and investigating them is a proactive way employers can prevent injuries and accidents and improve a workplace’s safety culture—and reporting them is one way to show you care for your co-workers.
“Near misses are situations that could have resulted in injury but didn’t simply due to good luck. Near misses ignored will eventually end up as an injury,” said Sarah Cipriano, SAIF senior safety manager consultant. “It’s not a matter of if it will occur. It’s a matter of when.”
See something, say something
Although OSHA doesn’t require employees to report near misses, it highly recommends they track them. Plus, under Oregon OSHA’s rules for investigations, it’s mandatory for workers to let their employer and fellow employees know about any condition that could result in injury, accidents, and near misses.
“It’s important that employees report hazards and near misses not only for their own safety, but for their colleagues, too,” said Cipriano. “It’s neglectful if you almost slip or fall and don’t report it, as the next person to encounter that hazard may be hurt.”
People may not report near misses for various reasons. They may feel embarrassed, foolish, and self-critical that they were almost involved in a safety or health incident. They may be worried about repercussions such as disciplinary measures.
“Blame fixes nothing. It’s important to talk about safety in a positive, caring way, so that employees feel they can report hazards and near misses,” said Cipriano. “It’s setting employees—and the employer—up for success.”
That’s a heartfelt safety message to share on Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year.
- SAIF provides several resources for analyzing accident injuries, accidents, and near misses to improve safety. An event analysis form offers step-by-step guidance to help you understand what happened during an incident, decide how to improve safety, and implement and follow up the changes.
- OSHA provides a template that employers can use to create a policy for reporting, recording, and investigating near misses.