Phew, that was close…
We do it all the time- almost knock over a glass, awkwardly swerve in the same direction of the person you’re trying to pass, nearly drunk dunk your phone in the toilet… but those situations where we manage to miraculously style it out, whether it’s fluke or skill, are near misses. Most near misses at our own hands tend to be a consequence of being a bit of a tool, but in work, they can also be as a result of missing safety measures. If they keep happening and you don’t flag them, your company can struggle to address them… and this is how a near miss becomes a clear hit…
So should we draw attention to our ‘almost’ disasters?
In the UK, it’s not the law to report a near miss, but giving your staff the ability to record an incident can benefit you as a company in many ways. A near miss is a warning of what’s to come, so paying attention to them can save you a serious headache in future. It also saves you a lot of money through avoiding downtime, machinery defects and compensation claims.
Ouch- it was c) £150,000!
Hey- it’s free feedback from your employees on something the management may have missed, so why wouldn’t you want it? Get your team volunteering this information by making it easy for them to record what happened and hit submit on an instant access portal. Culturally, being clear that reporting is not only free of reprisals, but it’s actually encouraged, will empower people to do the right thing and report it.
In addition to this, it needs to be pitched as a group learning exercise on how to get it right, not descend into a blame game. This can be tricky as other people implicated in the build up to the near miss can feel attacked or undermined. Rather than conducting a formal investigation into why Pete lost his pinkie, a group learning exercise into celebrating an environment that sorts it out before someone docks a digit is the way to go.
When your employees submit a near miss, keep them in the loop, let them know their feedback is appreciated, and that action is being taken because of it. This will keep people on board with the process and much more likely to keep telling you what’s happening.