At the beginning of this year, I received a telephone call from a director of a roofing company I provide services for. He informed me of an accident which happened on site the previous day, giving me a few details and asking if I could attend site. I made a call to another client I was seeing that day, explaining that there was an accident on site which needed my attendance. After rearranging the appointment, I drove to the site of the incident arriving fifty minutes after the telephone call.
I carried out a full investigation of the working area, reviewed all current documentation and interviewed witnesses who were on site. When finalising the investigation, it was apparent that a major cause was not reporting and acting upon near misses. The injured party (IP) surveyed the roof area in the morning and slipped on an icy patch of roof without harm. He noted to the operatives that it was slippery and to be careful. Another operative entered the roof area and he too slipped on the same part of the roof. Both parties did not report or record the near miss or provided any corrective action to the hazard.
Later that day the IP entered the working area on the roof and slipped again, this time falling and banging his head on a concrete platform. The IP cut his head and felt dizzy. First aid was applied. Later that day, the IP still felt unwell and visited hospital, and after assessment was informed that he had a small bleed on the brain, and he would have to remain in hospital. I am pleased to say that the IP has made a full recovery.
From a safety perspective, if the first near miss had been reported and corrective actions were put in place then, rather than after the accident, no injury would have occurred on site. This is the importance of reporting near misses and unsafe acts, and although it may seem insignificant at the time, it really can prevent injuries and even save lives. So for the next thirty days, let’s all discuss and make near miss reporting a priority and in thirty days it may just become a habit, and make us all a little safer.