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Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Near Miss

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Definition – What does Near Miss mean?

hsse-logoA near miss is an unintentional incident that could have caused damage, injury or death but was narrowly avoided. In the context of safety, a near miss may be attributed to human error or might be a result of faulty safety systems or processes in an organization.

A near miss may also be called a close call, near-collision or near hit.

Near miss, incidents are near miss events that come close to causing some form of loss, as there was an actual flow of, or exchange of, energy below the threshold level. In some instances, the flow of energy may have dissipated without making any contact, thus causing no loss. In most cases, the energy does not contact anything, thus causing no harm. In some cases, the exchange of energy was insufficient to cause loss or injury, but the fact that there was an exchange of energy is reason enough to heed the warning. Remember, it’s not what happened but what could have happened. Near miss, incidents are accidents waiting in the shadows.

HSSE WORLD explains Near Miss

hsse-logo Near miss incidents are also known as near miss, or incident, close shaves, or warnings. Other familiar terms for these events are close calls, or, in the case of moving objects, near collisions. Near miss incidents also sometimes have been termed near hits by some writers.
A near miss incident is

  • An undesired event that, under slightly different circumstances, could have resulted in harm to people, or property damage, or business disruption, or a combination.
  • An accident with no injury or loss.
  • An event that narrowly missed causing injury or damage.
    • An incident where, given a slight shift in time or distance, injury, ill health, or damage easily could have occurred, but didn’t this time
  • around.

Near miss incident defines as: “A result that is nearly, but not quite, successful.” What does this mean to the industry? It simply means that a serious accident (loss) almost occurred. Someone trips over a pallet but doesn’t fall. Two forklifts almost collide at a corner. A tool is dropped, but toes are missed … this time.

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