Near Miss or Workplace Accident? A life saved is an invaluable gift to all concerned.


Reflecting upon this year’s National Workers Memorial Day and indeed absorbing the words of wisdom from the HSA’s CEO Mr. Martin O’ Hallaron, I feel it necessary to mention to and indeed to remind all business owners of the importance of workplace health and safety management.


In total 353 people have sadly lost their lives at work between 2010 and 2016. 

I always note to my students and clients that 1 life lost is one too many thus the passion I have for my work as a health and safety professional.  I work across all industries and on a daily basis note some great workplaces and some not so great workplaces from a health and safety compliancy perspective.  A lot of the time I experience a culture of complacency and the common phrases of:

“Sure, that is how we do things around here”


“Sure, we have never had an accident. What is all this health and safety stuff all about anyway?”

A perfect example of the importance of Senior Management getting involved in health and safety was evident at a client training session I actioned recently.  On the day in question, all employees along with Senior Management attended our hour long “Safety Management Introduction” noting how moving forward the company would be approaching the process.  Throughout the presentation, I highlighted the importance of the reporting of Near Misses in the workplace and why this was the case.  This involved me asking a question to the floor and I worded all as follows:

“Can you guys from your last 5 days at work remember or were involved in a Near Miss and if so, can you please share it with the group?”


To be honest I was not really expecting a reply but to the credit of two employees they noted an incident which occurred only two days earlier……  I will give you a quick overview for reference.


What happened upon reflection was not a Near Miss but a Workplace Accident as an employee was injured but thankfully not badly.  He was shaken more that anything.  It could have been a whole lot worse mind you as this accident I am referring to was a fall from height into a workshop pit and the gentleman in question is the father of a very young new born baby.


Employee No1.   Placed a crowbar on the floor beside the pit while he went to get another piece of equipment for the job in hand.

Employee No2.  Walking through the workshop near the pit.  He was talking to a colleague of his and never saw the crowbar on the floor.  His foot rolled on the bar and he fell almost 5 foot into the pit.  Thankfully, no major work equipment such a lifting jack, portable equipment etc. were in place.


Martin O’Halloran mentioned on the interview I have included as part of this piece the importance of adequate control measures and the management of all hazards within the workplace.  Here is a perfect example of failures across the areas of housekeeping, slip, trip and fall management and falling from height awareness.  The client in question has learned a huge and indeed valuable lesson and as a direct result of the employee’s openness and the involvement of the Senior Managers on site, a robust Near Miss reporting procedure is now in place, a huge achievement for all concerned and something we are very proud to be involved in.


Sometimes people ask me why I do what I do.  Well there is the answer in real time for those people.

I do what I do to make a difference and in doing so try to keep the workplaces I interact as safe as I possibly can.

A life saved is an invaluable gift to all concerned and if I only play a small part in that, well that is enough for me.