What is a near miss?

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A near miss is where an accident could have occurred or an unsafe work area or persons working or acting in an unsafe manner. Some examples of a near miss are:-

  • Cranes slewing over the top of workers
  • Plant & Machinery narrowly missing workers
  • Fellow workers misusing/mishandling tools
  • Workers using defective tools & equipment
  • A worker falling or slipping down into an excavation
  • The lack of adequate barriers around tanks, excavations or other holes in the ground
  • Bad Housekeeping, especially on or around walkways/access routes, including storage of materials/tools
  • Broken, Cracked or Warped Ladders (also ladders sited the wrong way round)
  • Untied Ladders (where a fixed ladder is sited)
  • Badly Erected Scaffold, including dangerous placing of…
  • Badly or inadequately supported trenches (dependant on condition of ground)
  • Incorrect or inadequate PPE
  • Unprotected re-bar, especially when work area is muddy (slippery)
  • Spillages of diesel or other substances (environmental Near Miss)
  • Speeding traffic around site

There are many more examples that could be added to the list. Near miss incidents or hazards must be rectified immediately and reported, these should be recorded. The reporting of incidences should be encouraged and those reporting any near miss or potential near miss hazard should be taken seriously and not dismissed by line management.

Near misses should be discussed at site safety and or management meetings, actions that were taken should also be discussed and if any further actions are needed they should be listed and the persons concerned should deal with the actions.