Near Miss Incidents-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, September 12, 2016

Near Miss Incidents

For more than a year now, EH&S has provided a “near-miss” accident reporting form on our web site and encouraged its use in our Lab Safety training sessions.  These are incidents which did NOT result in an injury or serious issue, but may be indicative of a need to adjust safety practices.Near Miss Form

I thought it would be helpful to touch on some of the root causes of a number of the incidents, to provide you will some insight on these accidents.  I am only providing general causes, as I do not intend to provide information that would lead to the specific laboratory or area addressed by the report.  I would hate to have such disclosure cause reluctance for people to report this valuable information.

  • Equipment-related incidents were the most common, often related to the age of some of the equipment being used.  Additionally, leaving such equipment unattended was also found to have caused an incident.
  • There was an incident where a worker was not wearing proper PPE for working with a strong acid.
  • One other incident was related to an unexpected reaction in a closed container.

Take away lessons:  

  1. Inspect equipment before using, especially for older items.
  2. Use extreme caution when leaving experiments unattended, especially with older equipment
  3. Ensure proper PPE in work with hazardous materials.
  4. Use extreme caution when closing a container with an active reaction occurring.