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Any accident is money down the drain, pure and simple. No two ways about it.

So I am pained and amused at the same time whenever I hear people chuckling that what 'happened' to them was 'nothing' because 'NOTHING' happened. The NOTHING being a reference to the fact that the incident occasioned no injury or apparent damage. How interesting? Interesting because that kind of talk or line of thinking can only get you into some BIGGER trouble in due course if you do not begin to rethink the way you see things soon enough.

Now consider that even for a near miss incident, which roughly translates to an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage - but had the potential to do so - there are costs. They may not be apparent but they sure are there, quietly chipping away at your business bottom line. To illustrate: imagine that your construction site employees are beavering away with gusto, chasing the next milestone, when a 'Tech' on the fifth level above accidentally lets slip a hammer. It falls all the way to the ground, landing 'safely' between two very experienced foremen comparing notes on what's next after lunch break. The hammer, other tools and a stack of materials below escape undamaged but no one is injured in the process.

On hearing of the story moments afterwards, our Mr. NOTHING HAPPENED above, concludes famously that indeed, nothing happened. And he wasn't short of nods of approval from colleagues like himself who only relate losses to damage and injury. However, the good news is with each new occurrence, a golden opportunity to learn and change for the better presents itself to Mr. NOTHING HAPPENED and his likes. Let's therefore quickly review this NEAR MISS and see if it was truly without any cost to the construction site management team:
  • 30 workmen stopped work for 10 min. each to debate the incident: 30x10 =    300   min
  • 2 startled foremen questioned Tech & reviewed incident 60min: 2x 60 =         120   min
  • Foremen's incident report to management one working day: 12 hr. x2x60 =  1,440 min
  • Errant Tech stopped work for 60 min (Foremen's review)                          =        60  min 
  • Five witnesses (Foremen's review): 5 x 60                                                  =          300  min
  • 5-man Management team's review time @ 30min each                              =       150   min
                                                                                                 **Total Time Lost =    2,370  min
++That's 39.5 hrs. approx. 40hrs. @ 12hr work day = 3.4 man-days lost + cost of materials, wages/man-hour. for all involved. Pick up your calculators for the USD$ total.

And all that for something that was supposedly NOTHING! So now you know for sure that any accident is money down the drain. No two ways about it. Question is though: How much worse would it have gotten were it to be more serious than a Near Miss incident?

Next we shall dig deeper, looking at the potential for loss of this same incident. Stay on the safe side of things meanwhile.


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