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How to prevent near-misses at work

According to the National Safety Council, a near-miss is an unplanned event that had the potential for causing an injury, illness, or damage, but did not do so. While it always a relief when no harm comes from a near-miss, North Carolina workers and employers are well-served by taking steps to prevent them. In fact, it may be a good idea to have a system in place in which employees can report near-misses. This may help an employer create ways to solve problems before they result in lost money or productive.

Managers and owners should encourage employees to report such incidents and take steps to follow up on these reports. Ideally, employees can stay anonymous when reporting a near miss, and there should be no retaliation against those who report problems. Making the process as easy as possible to make use of helps encourage workers to participate in the reporting system.

Providing rewards to employees who identify problems can also be a good way to encourage reports of near-miss incidents. Employers should avoid rewarding employees or departments for having a low number of reports or a low number of injuries as this may dissuade employees from speaking up. Encouraging employees to report near-miss incidents is important as they are almost always the first signs of an accident waiting to happen if not addressed.

If a worker is hurt on the job, he or she may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Such benefits may make it easier for an injured worker to pay living expenses as well as recoup some of that person's lost wages. Ideally, a worker will report the accident as soon as possible to start the workers' compensation process. An attorney may also be able to help a person navigate the process of filing for benefits after an injury.

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