Culture is often described simply as "the way it is around here." When few near-misses are reported and acted upon in an organization, it indicates something about the relative health of the safety culture. Can it be considered safe and healthy or does this indicate something else, something much less positive? Too many organizations fall into the comfortable trap that comes by believing the former and do so at their own peril. Robust near-miss reporting processes that engage employees to identify and permanently solve hundreds of potential injury-causing situations that they are tired of living, with is crucial to healthy safety cultures.

Near-miss reporting is a tool that has been around for a long time. Many organizations struggle to get any effective, sustainable results from a near-miss program. This presentation documents a fresh approach used by a major utility, a heavy equipment dealer, a global construction company and a manufacturing facility, among others. Each of these firms engaged their employees and managers to develop a solution set that fit their unique safety and operations cultures. Each came away with a near-miss system and process that has their workface employee teams:

  • Identifying 100's of items that could cause injuries and should be addressed

  • Developing employee-driven solutions to well over 95% of the issues

  • Implementing solutions to these 100's of potential injury causations; most within three to five days

  • Developing and tracking the near-miss metrics that make a difference

  • Communicating the successes to other work units

  • Celebrating and reinforcing the victories

  • Working virtually injury free as a result of their efforts

  • Owning solutions and process; including designing forms, flow charts, and delivering peer training

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