How Your Company Should Be Using Near Miss Report Forms

Near miss report forms and near miss reporting processes are essential to a proactive, safe workplace. It may seem like a straightforward reporting process, but has your company used the near-miss report forms incorrectly?

Businesses use near-miss report forms to document a hazardous situation that created a potential accident scenario. The scenario was a close call, but it would have resulted in injury or damage to people or property if it had occurred.

Many companies use forms such as near-miss reporting forms to document those close calls that could have turned bad quickly. However, many companies aren’t using the form or the process to their best advantage. Stick with us and find out how your company should use the near-miss report forms for the best results.

How To – Using Near Miss Report Forms Correctly In Business

Near-miss report forms utilize a variety of sections where a user may include pertinent data. The inclusion of information is paramount to the mitigation of potential accidents. Understanding how to use that data to create and craft plans for preventative actions is equally essential. Some of the information that requires inclusion in the near miss report forms include:

  • Name of parties involved
  • Date and time of scenario
  • Nature of near-miss incident
  • Details pertaining to events that led up to the incident
  • Recommendations for prevention of incident recurrence

You now know the fundamentals of what needs to be included. You can also download our Near Miss Report Form Here to get a copy you can use (just print and complete). However, there may yet exist a much better solution to the old-fashioned print-and-go solution. We’ll discuss that later. For now, let’s look at the five critical steps to using your near-miss reporting forms. 

Did you know? It is estimated that for every injury that is reported at work, there are 50 near misses. That’s 50 chances your business has to prevent an accident in the first place. (source)

5 Critical Steps To Using Your Near Miss Report Forms

Using near-miss report forms properly is essential, so don't dismiss a near miss at your work. Find out more at 1stReporting.com.

Most businesses with a health and safety policy or even a health and safety department focus on ensuring they complete their near-miss reporting forms. However, many companies leave it and don’t look at the other aspects of the near-miss reporting process that are just as essential as completing a simple form.

  1. Identify The Need
  2. Pick Appropriate Personnel
  3. Complete The Near Miss Report Forms
  4. Communicate The Danger(s)
  5. Plan A Course Of Action

Let’s dive a bit deeper beyond the surface to see what lurks underneath each of these five critical steps to the near-miss reporting process.

Identify The Need

Many companies first and worst issue is identifying the need to report a near miss.

Often staff are embarrassed or fear repercussions for admission of a near-miss incident. It makes sense that many would fear repercussions given that the OSHA has confirmed that ‘horseplay’ resulting in incidents is legitimate to include in your company’s OSHA log.

Many small businesses cannot afford to pay hefty OSHA fines, nor do they want to complete and submit paperwork that might increase their insurance premiums. Therefore, many employers don’t take kindly to staff incidents resulting in injury.

Due to the legitimacy of many employers’ concerns, many employees will keep near-miss incidents to themselves. It’s why businesses require a strong culture of safety within their work environments.

Staff and management alike need to know when to report a near miss. There must be no hesitancy in filing a report in any near-miss scenario. 

As you have likely gleaned, it is not just identifying the need to complete your near-miss report forms but also ensuring that no one ever feels afraid to do so within your company.

Pick Appropriate Personnel

When a near-miss incident is reported, perhaps just spoken about at first to management by staff, management needs to pick and assign appropriate personnel.

Many companies falter in this step because the person chosen to complete the report may not be the correct person for the job.

In most scenarios, a person who witnesses a near-miss incident is chosen to complete the near-miss report. However, in many circumstances, it is more effective to have a non-biased staff complete the report and merely interview the witnesses.

When an impartial staff or manager is chosen to complete your near-miss reporting forms, your company has a much greater chance of receiving an unbiased report. It might be especially true if the witness involved was involved with horseplay that contributed to the scenario.

Complete The Near Miss Report Forms

Fairly self-explanatory, completing the near-miss report form is vital to a successful near-miss reporting process. Again we can see the relevance of having the appropriate personnel complete the form. An unbiased reporter will ensure a truthful scenario account for the best preventive planning results.

Communicate The Danger(s)

Completing the report is equally essential to communicating possible dangers to staff and the public, as required. For example, if some construction creates a blind corner, one might want to set up some warning signs if a near miss occurred (or even if one didn’t).

For another example, let’s look back at the featured image. Here we see a worker near a ledge, working at heights without the proper fall protection. It is a near-miss scenario and a hazardous situation (we’ve got a report for that, too, see all our incident report templates here). 

The dangers of falling from heights should be communicated in our example scenario. In this case, the worker must be called to use their fall protection equipment, and perhaps signage or even barriers need to be installed to prevent a potential accident. 

Remember, it’s one thing to write it down in a report; it’s something else altogether to warn anyone verbally or visually about the danger. Far too many employees feel their work is complete once the report is completed. 

Did you know? In a study completed in 2018, of 167 valid near misses, 19% were deemed low risk, 25% moderate, 30% high risk, and 26% critical. (source)

Plan A Course Of Action

The danger has been identified. Recommendations have been made. Now it’s time to analyze the scenario, review the near-miss report form, and craft a plan of action. The plan must include the following:

  1. Communication of a potential hazard
  2. Immediate corrective mitigation
  3. Long-term corrective mitigation

We’ve already discussed the need to communicate the danger, so warning others of a potential hazard should be straightforward.

Immediate corrective mitigation might include simply placing a safety cone or some caution tape. Or, it might be more involved. The point is to do something immediately to mitigate the threat.

The long-term corrective mitigation may be fast or take a comprehensive strategy to implement, depending on the nature of the near-miss incident. However, in either case, there must be a plan of action. There are nearly infinite possible scenarios, such as adding more guards onto equipment, increasing training, or even installing traffic lights. Every near-miss incident will require a particular plan of action. The essential thing is the implementation of the action. 

Digital Reporting Near Miss Incidents – Worth Its Weight In Gold?

Digitally reporting near-miss incidents using 1stReporting.com's app 1st Reporting.
Close up of a male hand touching a digital tablet

Completing a printed near-miss incident form is excellent, but how do you add pictures? There’s nothing wrong with printing one of our incident report templates and using it for your business. However, suppose anyone has photos or videos of the incident. In that case, you’ll have to create a folder on a computer, upload them, and upload the scanned and completed form; then, you’ll at least have all your documentation in one place. 

What if you could do all of this in one easy-to-use, cloud-based, customizable solution?

At 1st Reporting, we have done just that – we’ve created an industry-leading incident reporting application that has the following features:

  • Customizable template library – Choose from various reports in our existing library and have them customized as needed.
  • Customizable notifications – Let the right people know reports are completed at the correct time.
  • Automated solutions – Notifications and cloud-based shared files automate your processes for reporting like never before
  • Mobile friendly – It works on most Android and iOS devices and laptops/desktops.
  • Cloud-based – If you’ve got an internet connection, you can connect to the reports and reporting system.
  • Secure solutions – As an ISO-registered company, the 1st Incident Reporting app creators take your security seriously.
  • Collaborate from a distance – When you’re cloud-based, anyone with access can jump in and collaborate on a report. You can even access the app notifications using Microsoft Teams®.
  • Report generation – Can stacks of papers and files run reports on themselves? The last time we checked, that sort of thing only happens in fantasy movies. In reality, our club-based solution does the heavy lifting for you. Generate reports to review critical metrics of your incidents to get the big picture of your company’s health and safety.
  • Multi-purpose – The app is customizable and not just for incidents. You can use the digital solution for many different audits, reports, forms, and more, including daily vehicle inspections, COVID-19 visitor screening forms, facility inspections, fleet repair requests, and many more.
  • GPS – With the app’s built-in GPS functionality, it’s easy for you to use the customizable map view in the management dashboard to see where your team’s reports get completed visually.

Test the app for yourself and see why we’re one of the best digital solutions for your company’s reporting, auditing, and inspection processes.

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