Safety Manager Doug Nugent’s problem: He wanted employees to speak up more often about near-misses.
No doubt in our minds: Reporting and investigating near-misses were both key elements to controlling risks before employees were injured.
However, near-miss reports at our company were few and far between.
So we started a program to increase near-miss reporting.
Educate, count, reward
We told all employees everyone was expected to report unsafe acts, conditions or situations.
One barrier: Some employees were afraid to speak up about safety problems. Often, this fear came from work at other companies where near-miss reporting was criticized or ignored.
So we held a class to show employees how to speak up when they observed unsafe behavior. This training included powerful stories from experienced people explaining that not speaking up often results in serious injury or even death to themselves or others.
After everyone learned how to speak up, we started tracking the number of near-miss reports turned in. As they say, what gets measured gets done.
The final part: We set up a rewards program. Nothing fancy; crews with the most near-miss reports got to leave work a little early, use the parking close to the gate, and eat lunch on the company.
Workers turned in 3,000 near-miss reports in a year. And our OSHA recordable rate went down to just 0.7.
(Adapted from a presentation by Doug Nugent, Safety Manager, Shaw Group, Lena, LA, at ASSE’s Safety 2008 conference)