Responding to near misses at work

Responding to near misses at work

A near miss is when an accident occurs at work that doesn’t injure anyone, but had the potential to do great harm. Often companies may be tempted to ignore such close calls because of a lack of immediate consequences. For example, a heavy palette of goods could fall off of a truck without injuring a worker or resulting in significant damage to equipment. How a workplace responds to close calls can potentially be the difference between life or death should it happen again.

General attitudes to safety must be diligent, and after each accident make sure the relevant OH&S officers in your business:

  • Check for any injuries on the persons involved and report them straight away
  • Determine any corrective action required to avoid the hazard reoccuring
  • Review and monitor the hazard over time

Companies should always re-assess their workplace operations if there is the possibility of accidents reoccurring. Those that don’t risk being found negligent and liable for substantial damages should a worker be injured in repeat events. In South Australia a construction company was held responsible for failing to ensure safe work practices after an accident occurred which injured no workers. This demonstrates the importance not only from a financial point of view, but more importantly from a safety point of view.


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