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What is the difference between a near miss and an incident?

By Rick Molson | Last updated: May 15, 2017

Thank you very much for your question. We get this and similar questions all the time, and generally there is some confusion between these two closely related items.

There are two terminologies commonly used, and even though they're related it's important not to confuse one with each other.

  • A near miss is a type of incident that could have been an accident if the parameters were changed, such as distance, people, task, or tools.
  • An incident involves the injury of a person, equipment or property damage due to the failure of engineering processes, inefficiency of employee’s abilities to do the task correctly, kinetic, electrical, and weather to mention a few.

Simply put, all near misses are incidents but not all incidents are near misses.


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Written by Rick Molson

Profile Picture of Rick Molson

Proven background of co-developing, updating, and implementing a wide range of OH&S programming specific to the occupational and process safety needs of individual companies as well as complying with all relevant government legislation and certifying partner requirements.

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