Near Miss Reporting Improvements
H.W. Heinrich’s Safety Pyramid proposes that minimizing near misses reduces occurrence of major injuries.
In an industry like ours, where safety is paramount, everyone would likely agree that it is important to investigate the cause of an accident or injury. But what about those incidents and occurrences that almost or could have resulted in injury, in other words, the "near miss." The near miss concept stems from a 1931 "Safety Pyramid" developed by H.W. Heinrich, an industrial safety expert. His theory proposes that for every 300 near miss incidents, 29 minor injuries occur and one major injury occurs. Although his theory was never statistically proven, the concept has proven effective. By identifying what could have potentially happened after a near miss and correcting workplace processes, procedures or conditions, the number of near miss incidents, and ultimately injuries, should decrease over time. Using this theory, OSG measures near miss reports using the same criteria as our injury frequency rate, which is based on the total number of reports per 1 million man hours. For example, if we have a lost time injury frequency rate (LTIF) of 1.00, we would conversely expect to be receiving near miss reports at a frequency rate of 300 per 1 million man hours. Since June, 2007 we have seen our near miss frequency rate (NMFR) increase from approximately 35 to a rate of nearly 200 in some fleets while also noting a reduction in the number of injuries.
Creating a Reporting Culture
Over the past year, the number of near miss reports submitted by all OSG fleets has increased not because there have been more incidents, but in part because of a cultural shift in awareness on our vessels. Increased reporting means that the Company has better information to perform in-depth trend analysis and identify ways to potentially prevent future incidents. OSG supports a "reporting culture" wherein seafarers are encouraged to report incidents without fear of negative repercussions. With the number of reports rising, the scope of what is being reported is broadening. Incidents associated with routine tasks or unusual occurrences are showing up and that's good, according to OSG's Head of Safety, Quality and Environmental Captain Panos Hatzikyriakos. "I'm pleased to see that our crews' thought processes are shifting toward assessing what could have happened and reporting it, no matter how trivial it may seem at the time. We're getting constructive information, which will lead to improving education and training efforts and improved procedures and processes. Near miss reporting has a remarkable effect on an individual's perception of what is going on around them while working. They become much more aware of what their fellow seamen are doing and that creates a safer work environment."
Of all the potential dangers on board an oil tanker, procedures on how to wash and dry clothes might seem unnecessary. But a series of near miss reports from across the fleet associated with laundry activities exposed potential fire hazards. In one case a clothes dryer was overloaded and short-circuited. In another, a dryer working on the high heat setting overheated. On board other vessels the dryer filter and exhaust ducting was found to be clogged with lint. Through the analysis of near miss reports, an important discovery was made. On some of our vessels, the laundry rooms do not have heat or smoke detectors so along with new guidelines for operation and maintenance of laundry equipment, all vessel laundries are being outfitted with smoke detectors if they don't already have them. When one thinks about what could have happened if a fire started in a laundry room and burned undetected, the value of near miss reporting becomes crystal clear. Seafarers are encouraged to keep up the good work on reporting near misses as the reports represent some of the best information possible to prevent injuries and accidents.
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