Ecmweb 8876 Opinion 13

It's Your Duty

May 18, 2016
Chances are if you’ve been in this industry for any length of time, you’ve experienced a near-miss accident of some type in your career.

Chances are if you’ve been in this industry for any length of time, you’ve experienced a near-miss accident of some type in your career. You’ve either witnessed someone else narrowly avoid injury, or you’ve been the fortunate one that slips out of harm’s way. It’s inevitable. Accidents happen. The world isn’t perfect. It’s just a matter of time before some type of misstep occurs — intentional or unintentional — and something goes wrong.

The key question in my mind is what do you do when a near miss presents itself? Do you brush it off and move on like nothing happened? Do you take a moment, look around to see if anyone was watching, and then thank your lucky stars no one saw it? Or do you really stop to think about the situation, realize you should report it, but then fail to do so at the last minute out of fear of punishment? These same scenarios play out every single day in all types of facilities and construction sites throughout the world.

What’s Wrong Here? Hint: A Near Miss

Deconstructing Danger

Electrical Accidents: Lessons Learned

But there is another option available to us when a near miss takes place. Stop everything you’re doing, and report it. Help pull a team together to thoroughly analyze the steps that led up to the near miss and formulate a plan to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Your goal should be to use the event as a teaching tool for others to learn from.

Our cover story this month, “Deconstructing Danger,” discusses the merits of this type of program in great detail. Through a mix of interviews with safety experts and a few real-life case studies, freelance writer Tom Zind shows us how documenting and investigating near-miss events can improve safety at your place of employment. When done right, a near-miss reporting program can drive meaningful change and improvement in your organization.

We all make mistakes at some point in life. Near misses and accidents are going to happen. They’re unavoidable. The question is: Will you be the one who sweeps that near miss under the rug, or will you be the one who brings attention to it for others to learn from?

About the Author

eparson | Executive Editor

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