Friday, December 05, 2014

Near Miss or Near Hit?

David from Traverse City called to complain about the use of near miss in place of near hit or near collision

If I am slavishly literal, a near miss is actually a hit: “I nearly missed you with my car, but I finally managed to bring you to the pavement.” “The fly ball nearly missed me, but at the last second it smashed my eyeglasses.” And, in fact, there are some safety experts who fiercely ban near miss from their vocabularies.

But the federal government is more tolerant. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides the following definition of a near miss in an Accident Investigation Fact Sheet: “…incidents where no property was damaged and no personal injury sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage and/or injury easily could have occurred.” So it is a miss, but only by a narrow margin.

            And Plant Services Magazine takes a philosophical stance: “Near miss, near hit: don't let the terminology bog you down. Whether called near misses, near hits, close calls or something else, the key is to make sure organizations track and investigate them. It’s important to choose a term that employees can relate to. For example, if employees identify more with the term ‘near hit,’ ‘close call,’ or something else, then consider that.”

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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