Near Misses toolbox talk

A simple, 5 minute outline of what to cover in a toolbox talk on Near Misses.

A near miss is when an accident or incident that nearly happens, it’s an unplanned event that caused no injury, illness or damage but had the potential to do so. 

When a near miss happens, it’s easy to feel relieved that nothing serious happened and then just forget about it. However, another person or even the same person is very likely to be injured by that same hazard moments later or on another day. 

Have you ever thought to yourself, “whew, that was a close call” when something has happened in the workplace? That is an indication of a near miss, and you should report it!

Why run a Near Misses Toolbox Talk?

  • Raise awareness for workers to look out for hazards and to report these 
  • Assist with understanding of legislative aspects and standards
  • Fewer injuries means higher productivity

What are some examples of a near miss? 

  • A worker trips over an extension cord that is lying across the middle of the floor, but grabs onto the side of a door to stop their fall  
  • A workers loose clothing is caught in a machine, but it just tears their clothes and doesn’t injure them
  • A leakage is left unattended, a worker slips and falls but doesn’t injure themselves 
  • Workers are carrying a long heavy object, then turn around and nearly hit a co-worker who has to duck out of the way 
  • A tool is jammed, and a worker tries to fix it without switching the tool off 

How and why should a near miss be reported? 

  • Near misses should always be reported and recorded! 
  • You have to provide a summary on what happened, where, when and how it happened. This will help identify the risks and what risk needs to be dealt with first 
  • A reported near miss can identify hazards and provide helpful details about work conditions, work procedures or worker actions that may cause serious harm in the future
  • When you record and investigate a near miss, you can learn from it, and avoid possible injury, incidents, and accidents by taking action.


Key takeaways:

  • Near miss reporting is important to identify and control hazards, which in turn will reduce risks and the potential for harm at the workplace 
  • It’s important a near miss is reported so you can deal with the hazard before anyone gets hurt!
  • Don’t take a near miss lightly! 
  • A reported near miss is the accident that doesn’t happen!

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