Reporting near-miss incidents are often overlooked on busy job sites. We’ve all seen close calls happen, and when a job site is hopping with activity, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to avoid job disruption.
To aid your business in making the best choices for safety, and in an attempt not to impede operations, we’ve created this list of tips for near-miss reporting at remote job sites.
- Prioritize By Severity
- Encourage Participation
- Make Reporting Easy
- Avoid Taboos
- Perform Regularly Scheduled Inspections
- Prioritize Safety Reports As Positive KPIs
- Set Realistic Goals
- Mandate A Check-In Policy
- Run An Example
- Define Clear Roles
- Don’t Ignore The Feedback
Prioritize By Severity
Prioritize near misses by how likely they could become an actual incident. Don’t discount things that seem trivial because they will often turn out to have been an issue in hindsight.
Near miss You should prioritize incidents in order of severity:
- near misses with high potential to become near misses in the near future
- near misses that have already become near misses
- near-miss incidents that were not close calls but could have been
It’s common for companies to overlook these priorities and focus on X or Y issues. However, when a company does this, they’ll often find themselves dealing with many problems caused by incidents without knowing why they happened.
When you identify how each near-miss incident is rated, it’ll help you solve the problem more intelligently and quickly. For example, when three different types of accidents happen at a job site – all for the same reason – then you can see what solutions to near-miss reporting at remote job sites you need to put in place for that particular reason.
The more your near-miss incident reports are used, the better they’ll become and the easier it will be to identify trends or problems within a company’s work processes.
It may seem like enough is being done if all near-miss incidents get reported – but this can end up causing many of them to fall through the cracks because no one knows why they happened or what could solve these issues. Using near misses as opportunities instead of reasons for punishment means everyone on site has an equal chance of voicing their concerns about safety without fear of repercussions.
Did You Know? For every 600 near-miss incidents, 30 property damage incidents, ten serious injuries, and one person dies (fatality). Encouraging participation is critical if you’re going to reduce the risk of injury at your remote job site. (source)
Make Reporting Easy & Non Threatening
Try making your reporting process easier for your team members by adopting a digital reporting platform.
Itan excellent works well by using a near-miss reporting app where people can report near misses easily. Check out the 1st Reporting app here.
Utilizing a mobile incident reporting application like 1st allows companies to report from remote locations like a remote job site effectively. And with further form automation functionality, these applications are making the world of handwritten reports go the way of the Dodo.
Make Reporting Easier For Your Staff Members By Making Near Miss Reporting A Non-Threatening Process
Many ways making reporting easier means fewer near-miss incidents were happening at remote job sites. The most common reason near misses happen is because someone was doing something they shouldn’t have been or didn’t know what to do in an emergency.
If managers don’t encourage staff members to think through safety issues before taking action, employees will often act impulsively, leading to near-miss incidents or, worse, injuries.
If your staff members are encouraged to think through safety issues before taking action, near misses will happen less often. It is because they know how to act the right way in the first place and don’t have to work out what needs doing on an emergency basis – but it does take some encouragement by managers for this process to become naturalized so that near-misses occur even less frequently than now.
Avoid team members falling into the trap of the taboo. That is, work to build a culture where staff is willing to report near-miss incidents without fear of reprisals from management or fellow team members.
Often in work scenarios where staff consider themselves ‘rough necks’ or similar, there will exist an air of bravado, even machismo. It can be difficult, but you must encourage staff to let the taboo of reporting near misses wither into obscurity. And when staff act tough and discourage other staff from reporting situations such as near-miss incidents, you must discipline them accordingly.
Showing staff that it isn’t right to hide behind a facade in the name of masculinity is the only way you can encourage and promote the utmost safety at your remote job sites.
Perform Regularly Scheduled Inspections
Regularly scheduled inspections show your staff on the job site that safety is a priority. This act helps encourage team member participation.
Prioritize Safety Reports As Positive KPIs
Realizing a key performance indicator as a positive reinforcement to your near-miss reporting protocol helps maintain a positive outlook on the reporting process.
To manage near-miss reports as positive key performance indicators, your company needs to work on meeting near-miss targets within a given timeframe. If you set near-miss target goals for a job site manager and hit those goals reliably, that’s a good way to incentivize near-miss reporting without making the process a hassle.
To ensure your organization doesn’t become a statistic, ensure you’re using whatever positive means to encourage staff participation in safety reporting. With over 4,400 preventable deaths at job sites in 2018, the numbers speak to how we can all do our part to prevent near misses from turning into a tragedy. (source)
Set Realistic Goals
Set realistic goals for your safety reporting processes. Request team member participation and try having a goal for them. It could be to complete one report per month or a similar metric. You can use the report completion metric as a positive means to show your team participation.
Mandate A Check-In Policy
One of the challenges of managing a team’s safety when on a remote job site is keeping track of the entire team. It is extra challenging if you aren’t on the site yourself. Try implementing a standard check-in policy whenever you’ve got team members working on a remote job site. This sort of policy will show your staff that you’re serious about safety, and you can encourage any near-miss reporting at the time of check-in.
Run A Near-Miss Example
Run a mock near-miss example with your staff. Encourage team member participation in the event and use the scenario to train all staff (or run a refresher) in the process of near-miss reporting at your business.
If you don’t have the chance to do this periodically, run a one-time near-miss event for training purposes. You can also use near misses that have occurred in the past to convey near-miss reporting requirements. This way, you can revisit near misses and their impact with staff beyond just what happened, thanks to journalistic discovery.
There are many horror stories out there of companies where near-misses went unreported until serious incidents began happening, which is when staff learned about them or felt comfortable enough to report them–in hindsight, it’s heartbreaking!
A potential plan for this exercise might be having all team members walk around the job site, making a note of close calls they’ve observed, near-miss incidents.
Define Clear Roles
Another reason near misses happen at remote job sites is due to a lack of information about who should do certain things or where equipment, tools, etc., are located when someone faces a problem while working alone.
You can eliminate this by defining clear roles for remote staff and providing a layout for site equipment, traffic, or other site factors that enable hazards to present themselves.
Don’t Ignore The Feedback.
Near misses are near-misses for a reason–they’re likely to become real issues in the future if not addressed or reported on correctly. Don’t ignore your safety reports and near-missed events when they come in! Doing so might encourage team members to stop reporting altogether because of how bad it went last time.
Try having your staff provide feedback when a near-miss incident occurs. Remember that your staff is the ones on the front line. They may likely know the best solution to mitigate a safety hazard, so don’t ignore their feedback and always encourage it.
One key point that many managers neglect to remember is that on remote job sites, the team members must act as the eyes and ears of the company. Team members on remote job sites must take the most extraordinary measures to achieve safety. The key is to encourage their safety-oriented initiatives on an ongoing and regular basis. When staff on remote job sites are willing and eager to share their feedback on safety, everyone wins.
The Final Thoughts On Remote Near Miss Reporting
Avoiding injuries and incidents is the number one role for any safety-conscious manager. However, managing remote teams working on job sites out of sight poses a variety of safety challenges.
Utilizing a robust incident reporting process is vital to reducing your remote work site incidents, as you are aware. And incentivizing the safety reporting process, such as near-miss reporting, is essential to the success of your health and safety program.
Taking the eleven tips we’ve provided and implementing them to suit your organization’s operational framework for working safely on remote job sites is vital, if not downright critical, to the safety of team members on the worksite.