Near-Hit Reporting: Reducing Construction Industry Injuries
- Eric Marks (University of Alabama) | Ibukun G. Awolusi (University of Alabama) | Brian McKay (Fairweather LLC)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- May 2016
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 56 - 62
- 2016. American Society of Safety Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 34 since 2007
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- The construction industry continues to rank as one of the most hazardous work environments, experiencing a high number of workplace injuries and fatalities.
- Safety performance improvement is needed to achieve zero injuries, illnesses and fatalities on construction sites. One systematic method of achieving this improvement is through the collection and analysis of safety data such as near-hits.
- This article highlights best practices for collecting and analyzing near-hit information. A near-hit management program for assessing collected data is created so that lessons learned from reported events can be applied to mitigate future hazards on construction sites.
- Results of a construction site case study of the implementation of the created program indicate that near-hit reporting and analysis can improve the safety performance of workers on construction sites.
The construction industry continues to experience a high number of workplace injuries and fatalities as compared to other U.S. industrial sectors. Although this number has been declining over the past 20 years, the rate of decrease has been slowing, and is nearly stagnant in recent years (ILO, 2003). As an industry, construction has averaged 1,010 fatalities per year, indicating that much improvement is still needed to achieve zero injuries, illnesses and fatalities (BLS, 2013a). One such improvement can be found in the collection and measurement of safety data.
Historically, the construction industry has defined safety performance through the measurement and assessment of lagging indicators including injuries, illnesses and fatalities. These lagging indicators are required by OSHA to assess the state of construction safety (BLS, 2013a). One major limitation of assessing safety performance using lagging indicators is that incidents must occur before hazards or unsafe behavior can be identified and mitigated.
Leading indicators are an alternative form of safety metrics that proactively assess safety performance by gauging processes, activities and conditions that define performance and can predict future results (Hinze, Thurman & Wehle, 2013). One such leading indicator is a near-hit, defined as an incident in which no property damage or personal injury occur, but could have occurred given a slight shift in time or position (BLS, 2013a). The major advantage of measuring leading indicators such as near-hits is that data can be collected and analyzed without requiring an injury to occur.
This article presents research products in the development, deployment and effectiveness of using a near-hit management program on construction sites. The authors gathered the information through personal experience, formal research in the Construction Industry Institutes Research Team 301: Using Near Misses to Enhance Safety Performance, and through secondary research and literature review. The goals of this article are to present the near-hit management program and demonstrate its quantitative effect and proof of effectiveness when applied to a multibillion dollar construction project, to encourage the use of this methodology in the field.
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