Preventing near misses

Feb 3, 2022
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Written by Washington Retail
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Jim was in a hurry, and he needed to get a box from one of the shelves in the stock room. Because there was a pallet in the way, he couldn’t position the ladder correctly. He was in a hurry, so he went up the ladder anyway. As Jim descended with the box in one arm, he felt the ladder sliding to the right. Luckily, he corrected his balance and stopped the ladder from sliding further, making his way down safely. Most people refer to this as “a close one” or what safety people call a “near miss.”

Scenarios like this happen in different ways, in different environments, and often involve power equipment. Often, what is close to becoming an accident needs to be addressed beforehand so it doesn’t happen again. Encourage employees to take that little extra effort to perform their job safely and with pride in their decisions. Safety measures are in place for a reason, so employees like Jim can go home safe and not end up in a hospital or have an impairment for life.

People don’t want to look stupid, be embarrassed, or admit they did it wrong, which might keep employees from reporting near-miss incidents. WAWorkSafe has a free app for reporting these kinds of incidents.

Take a closer look at near misses that have happened at your workplace, evaluate them, and make the necessary adjustments to your safety plan to make sure they don’t become an accident! RS SafetyTV has a few videos about this topic. “Near misses” is also an excellent topic for your next safety meeting and can help take the stigma out of near-miss reporting.

Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].