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 wtcmradio.com
and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll
also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.