Close Calls

A commonly used definition of a “close call” refers to an event that could have resulted in personal injury, property damage, or environmental damage, but did not. However, this definition is too  arrow.

Close call incidents do not often result in injuries. However, ignoring a close call means you could be paving the way for a serious injury to happen. You must report all close calls so they can be investigated and the hazard removed before someone does get hurt. For every reported first aid or minor injury, there are on average hundreds of close calls incidents that have gone unreported.

Close calls (also known as near misses) are situations in which a worker has a narrow escape from getting hurt. The worker probably feels lucky about getting away uninjured. If we pay attention, these incidents can be lucky in another way: They provide a preview of an injury that could happen, so measures can be taken now to prevent it.

Being aware of near misses off the job can also help prevent accidents. If you have a close call driving in traffic, take the time to review what happened, and why and how you could avoid such problems in the future. If you slip while you are walking, check to see why it happened. A review of the incident might prevent broken bones from a fall in the future.

If you have a near miss, consider yourself lucky on two counts: You didn’t get hurt, and you have the chance to prevent a future accident for yourself or someone else.