In 'ACCIDENT IS MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN', we tried illustrating how a NOTHING HAPPENED near miss incident of a hammer accidentally slipping off a technician's grasp, falling through a considerable height and landing safely between two busy foremen, with no damage to property or injury to anyone on site resulted in so much useful production time loss. A conservative computation of the time-cost estimate showed what seemed to be a 'harmless' incident costing the site company management a hefty 3.4 Man-Days lost time in direct costs! The exercise ended without considering the 'POTENTIAL' of the occurrence.
'POTENTIAL' simply refers to the probability of a much more consequential outcome by chance or slightly altered circumstances given the number of people exposed to the threat at the time. This is usually what constitutes the difference between a 'NOTHING HAPPENED' incident, a disabling/ serious property damage one or a fatality. That the people on site escaped apparently scot-free is a matter of chance. On another day, things may have turned out horribly different because this was a HiPo e.g. a High Potential near miss incident. If you don't believe it, consider the following probabilities:
In falling and travelling through that height, the hammer could have:
- Struck employees on the levels below on its way down
- It could have struck either one of the foremen causing serious injuries
- It could have struck and damaged expensive materials stacked in the open yard below
- It could have struck any employee on the ground level causing injuries, etc.
The site management team would have had to deal with:
- Medical bills
- Ambulance callout cost
- External regulator issues
- Employee low morale
- Increase insurance premium next due renewal date
- Employee compensation
- Employee replacement/training costs
- Sick-off pay
- Employee family issues while out injured/damaging gossip
- Possible retraining/reassignment costs
- Replacement material costs
- Dented Company public image
- Extended milestone deliveries
- Customer dissatisfaction
- QA/QC issues
- Possible Union troubles, etc. and so on.