How to Create a Near Miss Reporting Program

How to Create a Near Miss Reporting Program


Unidentified hazards can compromise the safety of your employees, potentially leading to preventable accidents. A “Near Miss Reporting Program” can uncover these dangers and make accidents much less likely. This type of program can be rolled out at a minimal cost to your business while still having a significant impact. It is a small effort with a huge upside – better safety record, reduced cost, and improved insurance premiums over time.

What is a Near Miss?

A near miss is any situation that could have caused harm but hasn’t. For instance:

  • An oil patch on the workshop floor that someone could have slipped on.

  • An extension cord left sprawled across a walkway, posing a tripping risk.

  • Equipment that isn’t properly guarded or shielded.

Benefits of a Near Miss Reporting Program:

  1. Proactive Identification: Encourages employees to identify potential hazards before they can turn into incidents.

  2. Enhanced Safety Culture: Ensures everyone feels responsible for workplace safety, fostering a team approach to risk control.

  3. Continual Improvement: Allows businesses to refine and adapt their safety program based on real-world feedback.

Structure of a Near Miss Program:

  1. Weekly Identification: Require your team to identify at least one near miss every week. This can be done during routine operations or dedicated safety walkthroughs. If a near miss isn’t identified in a given week, use a safety meeting to scout for them as a team.

  2. Documentation: Every identified near miss should be documented, including:

    • Description of the near miss.

    • Date and time.

    • Location within the workplace.

    • Potential risk(s) associated.

    • Corrective action taken.

  3. No Blame Policy: Ensure your employees understand that the program isn’t about assigning blame or disciplinary action. It’s about proactively addressing potential issues. Celebrate the identification and correction of near misses as positive steps toward safety.

  4. Quick Visual Inspections: Train and encourage employees to perform quick visual checks of their surroundings, especially when beginning a new task or entering a different workspace.

  5. Addressing Unsafe Acts: Recognize that unsafe conditions and unsafe acts can be near misses. Examples include not wearing the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or not following safety protocols. By reporting these, businesses can address behavioral risks.

  6. Tracking and Analysis: Maintain records of near misses and analyze them periodically. Understanding why and how they occurred can provide insights into areas that need more attention. This continuous assessment can further guide training programs and safety updates.

  7. Feedback Loop: Review the reported near misses with the entire team. Discuss the corrective actions taken and reiterate the importance of the program. This keeps everyone informed and ensures consistent understanding across the board.


A near miss today could be an accident tomorrow. By introducing a structured near miss reporting program, businesses can actively prevent incidents, bolstering safety and workforce morale. Remember, the program’s success is built on a culture of trust, collaboration, and continual improvement. It’s not about finding fault; it’s about forging a safer future together.