Episode 36 – Proactive Safety: JSOs and Near Miss Reportingy (Short)


Toolbox Topic: Proactive Safety: JSOs and Near Miss Reporting

A proactive safety program aims to reduce or eliminate incidents and injuries. Job safety observations and near-miss reporting can be powerful tools to help us accomplish these goals.


Definitions of JSOs and Near Misses

JSOs encourage safe practices, reduce at-risk behaviors, and give real-time feedback. This activity should be used for coaching purposes to improve behavior and reinforce safe work practices.

A near miss is anything that could cause harm but hasn’t yet -dangerous conditions, unsafe work habits, or improper use of equipment. These examples all have the potential to cause harm.

Let’s start by talking about how to perform a JSO.


Performing JSOs

Don’t overcomplicate Job safety observations. Here are a few simple steps to get you started:


  1. Be close enough to see the task being performed clearly but not too close that it puts you in danger.
  2. Observe each step of the task.
  3. Talk with the person being observed, reinforce safe work practices, and address any at-risk behaviors. Ask questions, “What injuries can occur if the unexpected happens?” and “How can this job be done more safely.”
  4. Fill out the JSO form completely. Documentation is essential because it helps identify trends, correct problems, and prevent future incidents. This information should only be used for coaching and never for disciplinary purposes.


Next, let’s talk about near-misses reporting.


Near Miss Reporting

Safety can often be reactive. We talk about injuries or accidents AFTER they have happened. These discussions are essential and can reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence. However, this is looking in the rearview mirror. Near miss, reporting is looking out the front windshield. It is a proactive tool that helps correct unsafe behaviors or conditions. We must train our brains to think about “what could happen?


Some Real-World Examples of Near Misses:

  • An ice maker has leaked on the floor, but the water hasn’t been cleaned up, or a cone put down.
  • Oil is left on the floor, creating a slip hazard.
  • An extension cord is left out, and someone could trip on it.
  • A frayed extension cord is left plugged in but should have been taken out of service.
  • A sharp object protruding from a workstation.
  • Oily rag cans are overflowing and present a fire hazard.
  • A tool falls from a shelf and almost strikes someone.
  • Moving equipment around a blind corner and nearly hitting a person or object
  • Using equipment when the guards have been removed


In all these examples, someone could have been hurt, or property could have been damaged but wasn’t. The more of these situations we correct, the less likely actual incidents will happen. Any time a near miss is identified, it should be followed up with immediate corrective action. It is everyone’s responsibility to report and correct these near misses immediately.


JSOs and near-miss reporting can significantly improve safety and enhance your safety culture.

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