An incident without injury is sometimes easily forgotten. We often tend to shrug them off as a fortunate escape.

In everyday life, there is a real danger in brushing off accidents that do not hurt, harm, or damage. When these near-misses happen, we should immediately notice and action because a non-injury incident is a positive sign that something is wrong. A near-miss is an opportunity to learn and communicate about effective accident prevention.

One of the best ways to eliminate the likelihood of close calls is through effective root cause analysis and making effective measures toward corrective actions. A list of near-misses can be almost endless: lack of proper machine guarding; improper maintenance or grounding of equipment; missing handrails or guards; poor housekeeping; improperly stored material; stubbing a toe on a protruding floor object; bumping up against a sharp object; and tripping over clutter are just a handful of examples. It’s best to learn the real lessons from these near-misses, since they will likely continue to occur until an injury occurs.

There was a study conducted many years ago that found for every serious or disabling injury reported, there were about 10 injuries of a less serious nature, 30 property damage incidents, and about 600 incidents (near misses) with no visible injury or property damage. This study was part of the foundation for the widely accepted accident prevention theory that “increased frequency leads to severity.”

If you are involved with or witness a near miss, remember that you or your co-worker may not get a second injury-free chance to report it. Do your part to help make your workplace safe for everyone and report those near misses immediately!


KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.