The Importance of reporting and recording near misses

Reporting and recording incidents are one of the most frequently asked about topics for the HazardCo Advisory Team, here’s the low-down of what you need to know. 

Health and Safety Evidence

Documentation is a key way of showing that health and safety is actively being managed on-site and provides evidence in areas like incident investigations and learnings that are shared from these. This can be in either digital or physical format. 

By reporting all near misses and incidents on-site, everyone is working together to identify areas where you can better manage risks – it’s all about helping to prevent harm. Everyone on-site has a right to know of potential threats that may impact them, and everyone plays a role in protecting everyone else on-site. 

Getting everyone to report near misses and incidents creates a culture of open, honest discussions about health and safety.

Encourage reporting and recording
Best practice is that all incidents, whether they cause injury or not, need to be reported and added to your incident register. 

The more reporting you have, the more data is available for those in a position to influence change, as it can help them to see areas that require improvement or to see how effective implemented controls have been.

Encouraging the reporting of these incidents is simple with the HazardCo App:

  • Everything is completed digitally on your team’s phone and the process is simple and easy to follow.
  • With remote reporting in the mobile App, your team no longer has to wait until they get home or to the office to report the incident. They can quickly do it while it’s still fresh.
  • Encourages conversation – with the App you can easily record and quickly pull up all incidents through the HazardCo Hub and discuss them in toolbox meetings.
  • All incidents are added to your digital incident register which is easily accessible from the HazardCo Hub whenever you need to revisit.

No matter how big or small, report all near misses and incidents so you can all learn from them. Using the Report Incident feature on your HazardCo App, fill out the fields to capture what happened. Your completed report is available in the Hub, and HazardCo retains this for as long as you’re a member.

If medical treatment was required, it could be a notifiable incident. If you are unsure, the Advisory Team can help and talk you through what to do next and how to notify WorkSafe/ SafeWork.

As well as taking photos of the incident scene, we recommend you carry out a Site Review and communicate both the review and Incident Report findings to your own team and the wider site crew, by conducting a Toolbox Meeting.

Remember that it’s a legal requirement to keep these records for a minimum of 5 years so doing everything on the App helps ticks that box for you. 

Near Misses
According to WorkSafe/ SafeWork, a near miss is defined as an incident that occurs but doesn’t lead to injury, illness, or damage. 

No matter what working environment you are in, construction sites nationwide have near misses every day. On-site, a near miss could be tripping over stacked material, it could be dropping the hammer off the scaffold onto the ground or backing the truck and narrowly missing the boss’s ute. While these seem fairly innocent, they could have been more serious. 

Like other incidents, these near misses need to be recorded and reported as soon as they occur. Once they have been, you can look into what caused the near-miss and put steps in place to avoid it turning into something more serious. 

Reporting near misses
Near misses should be considered the same as an incident. But often they aren’t. 

We often find that near misses are very rarely reported, and actually brushed off. We tend to find there are several recurring reasons why they are not reported: 

  • Fear of blame – no one likes being singled out or used as an example of what not to do. This leads to people sweeping things under the rug
  • ‘She’ll be right’ attitude – maybe this is our Aussie attitude but many tradies think a near miss is not worth reporting because an incident didn’t happen or it was small.
  • Lack of leadership – if our managers aren’t diligent and don’t report small risks or near misses then why would the rest of the team

Near misses are just as dangerous as actual incidents. If you’ve had a near miss, you might have got lucky but someone else might not. Treat near misses as a free learning tool to put controls in place to prevent more serious incidents from occurring.

Encourage near miss reporting, so you can start to see patterns and gain valuable insights on where to best focus resources into safety. Lots of reports of tools falling from height? Investigate and ensure controls like the below are in place: 

  • Can the work be done on the ground?
  • Only taking the tools you need up at height
  • Can work be done with no one below?
  • Securing the tools from falling with tethers or tool straps
  • Are toe / kickboards in place on scaffolding?
  • Put in place a exclusion zone below the work above
  • Signage to indicate workers above
  • Hard hats for workers below

Don’t take near misses lightly. Report the incident as soon as it happens with the HazardCo App.

Ensure you take incidents and near misses seriously and investigate them. Investigations help you work out the root cause so as to put in place corrective actions. 

We all dread an incident occurring, but if anything serious happens on your site it’s important you are prepared, remain calm, and do the right thing. When in doubt, call HazardCo – we are here to support the health and safety needs of all HazardCo members 24/7.

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