FSC highlights importance of reporting Dangerous Occurrences

Newly appointed Federal Safety Commissioner, Mr Alan Edwards, has emphasised the importance of reporting Dangerous Occurrences, stating that “I urge industry to consider all incidents serious enough to report. Ignoring a near miss may perpetuate an underlying problem.  Companies shouldn’t wait for an actual injury to occur to identify and remedy system weaknesses that potentially put workers at needless risk.”

A Dangerous Occurrence, often called a ‘near miss’, is an incident where no person is injured, but which had the potential to cause serious injury, incapacity or death. Examples of Dangerous Occurrences include incidents such as falling objects that do not hit anyone, discovering hazards after work has commenced—such as live power cables or asbestos—that should have been discovered earlier, as well as fires or electrical malfunctions which could have resulted in injury.

The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) is encouraging the accurate reporting of Dangerous Occurrences throughout the building and construction industry, both internally and to external bodies like the OFSC. A Dangerous Occurrence can be just as revealing of WHS system inadequacies as an incident which does result in an injury or worse.

In the July-December 2011 reporting period seventy-nine Dangerous Occurrences on Scheme projects were reported to the OFSC. The “near miss” incident reports show that the most frequently reported highest risk activity on construction sites related to work where there is any movement of powered mobile plant. Significantly, this was also the second highest risk activity identified in the injury and fatality incident reports. This suggests a correlation exists between the circumstances of Dangerous Occurrences and those incidents where injuries actually occurred.

Accredited companies working on Scheme projects are required to report to the OFSC all Dangerous Occurrences which are notifiable under the relevant WHS legislation in the jurisdiction where a project is being undertaken.

More information regarding the OFSC’s reporting requirements can be found on our reporting page.