Written by: Rob Sweeney, Workplace HR & Safety
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were slightly more than three million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2013. While this number is lower than previous years, the question that remains is how many near misses occurred in the workplace that were not reported and could result in a future injury or fatality. Heinrich’s widely accepted accident triangle theory states that for every major injury, there were 29 minor injuries and 300 near misses. All too often, these near-miss situations are forgotten minutes after they occur as employees rush to get back to the daily routine.
There are many reasons employees choose not to report a near miss incident, including fear of retribution, a desire to avoid red-tape or to avoid interrupting pace of work. While the repercussions of violating safety protocols may flash through employees’ minds when they witness something wrong occurring or take a shortcut themselves, the path of least resistance is often ignoring the situation. The immediate effects of inhibiting personal productivity, for example, can outweigh what is perceived to be a moderate risk that probably will not happen anyway.