Don't Miss Out On Near Misses - Report Them!-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Don't Miss Out On Near Misses - Report Them!

Rarely in life are we afforded the opportunity to learn from mistakes before they happen.  It may sound a bit paranormal, but near misses allow exactly that. A “near miss” or “close call” is when something goes wrong in the workplace, with the potential to be very disastrous, but through a miracle, a stroke of good fortune or just plain luck, no one was injured; however, if circumstances were different, the same incident could have produced a much worse scenario. Near-misses can be predictors of actual accidents.  If enough near misses occur, eventually luck runs out and statistics prevail. Because of this, EH&S would like to know about near misses before they escalate into actual accidents.
To facilitate this, we have a new form, Non-Injury & Near-Miss Incident Form, ( to report incidents where no one was injured, but could have been if circumstances were different. The new form captures what contributed to the incident, how it could have resulted in a more serious or life-threatening situation, and most importantly, what can be done to prevent it from happening again or in a worse way. If you see something that is potentially serious, but hasn’t resulted in an accident yet, please report it. Chances are if you’ve escaped disaster, someone else in the University may be unknowingly tempting that same fate, but might not be so lucky.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the answers; the form merely initiates the investigation process where we can get to the heart of the problem to find workable solutions. Reporting near misses is  the first step toward affecting our future safety in a positive way.

By: Michael J. Patrick,, 412-268-3221