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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.
So if it weren't for pure chance at the material time, this so-called Near-Miss incident had a high potential to cause serious damage, injury or even a fatality! Then the story would have been vastly different with all manner of direct and indirect costs thrown in to everyone's discomfort.

The site management team would have had to deal with:
  1. Medical bills
  2. Ambulance callout cost
  3. External regulator issues
  4. Employee low morale
  5. Increase insurance premium next due renewal date
  6. Employee compensation
  7. Employee replacement/training costs
  8. Sick-off pay
  9. Employee family issues while out injured/damaging gossip
  10. Possible retraining/reassignment costs
  11. Replacement material costs
  12. Dented Company public image
  13. Extended milestone deliveries
  14. Customer dissatisfaction
  15. QA/QC issues
  16. Possible Union troubles, etc. and so on.
It just goes to show for a fact that no accident is free of charge. Keep them out before they extract a heavy toll from you.


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