Every day we experience near misses. Some are closer than others. They’re the ones when you know that with just a slight change in circumstances you could have been seriously injured.

When these near misses occur in the workplace they can be seen as both a warning and an opportunity – a warning that a serious incident is waiting to happen and an opportunity to learn, to prevent the incident from happening again on another occasion, whether it’s to you or to someone else.

That’s why reporting near misses or notifiable incidents are so important and why that part of the new Health & Safety at Work Act (HSW Act) has been significantly strengthened. Among the key changes is the need for internal reporting of incidents and near misses within companies to be strengthened to capture the relevant notifiable events and incidents.

Near misses are often disregarded as unimportant or at least not significant enough to be reported. They should be seen as a chance to proactively resolve the things that aren’t working as well as they could be.

If your company creates a workplace culture where employees feel encouraged to report near misses there are a number of benefits you and your staff will enjoy. Near miss reporting provides valuable information about the overall effectiveness of a business’s health and safety management practices. It engages the workforce in solving problems, increasing safety ownership and can bring useful information to light that otherwise might not be discussed.

The greatest benefit of all? Everyone can feel proud that they are part of an effective health and safety management process – and that will move the business a long way toward ensuring everyone gets home safe at the end of the day. If you are the owner of a business, be sure to consider WorkSafe Reps’ initial health and safety course for ensuring all of the right health and safety precautions are made.