This presentation will provide an analysis of the implications affecting the profitability of both reporting and not reporting near misses. The main objective is to encourage the safety professional to gain management commitment to reinforce the campaign for near miss reporting in the organization as a free resource to protect profits.

For over 25 years, I have worked with organizations implementing management systems to improve occupational health, safety and environmental performance. In the course of that work, I have interacted with people in different hierarchical positions in the organization; they come from different disciplines and backgrounds; senior managers and supervisors who performed their function as role models for the employees they lead.

As a common rule, supervisory and senior manager levels make their best efforts to provide good production results to owners and shareholders as most rewards come in the form of economic bonuses linked to the production and profitability of the company. In the past, some CEOs thought "accidents were inevitable" and they consider them as part of the cost of doing business.

Many times, willingly or un-willingly, these expected profits and bonuses tend to influence managers and supervisor actions which send confusing messages to the front-line employee, about production versus safety performance.

Prior to the development of standardized management systems (ISO 14001 EMS, OHSAS 18001, ANSI/AIHA Z10, and others), most major organizations recognized the importance that HSE matters have in business. In their effort to provide effective HSE management, they developed systems focused on occupational health, safety and environmental management. These systems included a vast number of HSE related documents that quite often had many inconsistencies and the end users did not understand the processes in place for managing HSE, and they were not clearly aware of their specific responsibilities and the expectations of management. On top of this, many times the HSE management processes were not closely linked to the core business control and management processes.

Over the years, senior management and supervisory leadership roles have proved to be the most impactful for safety improvement. Nothing causes more struggles in the safety effort than a top member of the organization undermining safety for the benefit of other objectives such as production or cost reduction and profitability. Almost as bad is the case when the safety message is given to the organization as a political matter and not as a true statement.

When integrating the safety objectives to other Company objectives like profitability, flexibility, security and energy efficiency, it is of outmost importance to account for the role of human behavior patterns as different players have different reactions under similar circumstances [1]. Although the engineer considers operator decision-making when designing engineered systems, the performance of the system once it is built and integrated to the plant will depend on the interface made with the operator. Potential failure due to human factors is so well recognized that it is an important aspect reviewed during HAZOP studies.

The establishment of the human to machine interface may become so complex that appropriate training is required for the operator to develop a clear understanding of the system's behavior and messages (alarms or others). Depending on the complexity of the system, either physical, electrical, mechanical, or chemical, the forewarnings given by the system may be misunderstood by the operator.

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