Near Misses

Near miss incidents are situations that did not result in personal injury or property damage but have the potential to do so.

Most accidents occur as a result of an unsafe act or unsafe condition. The end result being a person gets injured.  Often unsafe acts or unsafe conditions have several misfires and the result is a near miss accident or incident.  The only difference between a near miss and an accident is luck.

Near Misses are leading indicators in the workplace that must be identified and investigated to reduce overall incidents. To get to the root cause of a near miss incident, near misses must be treated with the same attention to detail as if the event actually occurred.  If near misses are indentified and corrected, future incidents may be prevented.

Site Prevention Program

The Accident Prevention Plan (APP) must have a written policy that addresses reporting unsafe conditions.

Reporting Near Misses

  • For near miss reporting to be effective, there must be a system in place to collect the data, initiate proper root cause analysis, institute corrective action and follow-up to make sure corrective actions were effective.
  • Near miss reporting must not be a punishment in order to gain employee participation.


  • Always report a near miss.
  • Take immediate action to prevent a similar near miss.
  • If you did not cause a near miss but saw it, discuss it with those involved and your supervisor.
  • Obey safety rules and you will decrease the number of near misses around you.

Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • What is your company’s reporting procedures for near miss incidents?
  • What are some examples of near miss incidents that have occurred at your workplace?