Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Courses Available Online, Virtually and Classroom
Fully Certified NEBOSH, IOSH, IEMA Accredited
7-Day Customer Service
David Bryan BSc, CMIOSH, CMAPS

What Causes Mistakes and Near Misses at Work?

September 2019

Mistakes are not inevitable and near misses can be avoided. Improving the culture of businesses and teams is fundamental to effective health and safety management. So, what is a mistake and how might this lead to a near miss?

I will review how we might better understand and deal with mistakes at work by looking a the psychological research behind it. This information can help you to reconsider how you approach incidents at work and reduce the likelihood of near misses.

A climate survey tool is a great start to find out what people really think about how health and safety is managed in the workplace. (Climate survey tools can be found on the HSE website). We will then look at learning through mistakes and near misses.

Different kinds of mistakes

The HSE publication HSG 48 -“Reducing error and influencing behaviour” provides a useful definition of mistakes as a “complex type of human error where we do the wrong thing believing it to be right”. These types of errors involve a failure to mentally process information correctly; this inevitably leads to mistakes being made. This is different from deliberate “rule violations”.An example of another bias leading to incorrect judgements is an “overconfidence effect”. This describes the difference in what people actually know and what they think they know.

Biases such as these two examples can be avoided by challenging our own thoughts and considering how the information given to the workforce is understood.

Review how you deal with mistakes and near misses

So, although it’s a complex picture, we can do a lot to reduce the chance of people making mistakes in their jobs. This process should be used when conducting risk assessments, developing safe systems of work and carrying out incident investigations. Asking simple questions such as “is the rule appropriate and fully understood?” will help to identify how and where mistakes might be made.

So, if we want to improve our health and safety culture, we must deal with our mistakes and near misses effectively and communicate clearly. A positive and open health and safety culture that welcomes the reporting of near misses will enable us all to learn from our mistakes.

Find out more

If you need to discuss any health and safety issues you have at work including human factors, safety culture or accident prevention we offer training and consultancy visit our Workplace Training section by clicking the button below.

Related Blogs

  • Reporting from SHW Live 2022 Image
    Toby Howell BA PGDip

    Reporting from SHW Live 2022

    Astutis were incredibly proud to partner with SHW Live 2022 to help industry thought leaders from around the world deliver thought-provoking speeches during the special event. Discover what some had to say here. 
    04.10.22
  • Astutis' Six-Step Approach to Successful Incident Investigations Image
    Toby Howell BA PGDip

    Astutis' Six-Step Approach to Successful Incident Investigations

    Risk assessments and incident investigations are the most efficient way to analyse risk. Astutis' blog explores the six-step approach to investigating workplace incidents, helping organisations and individuals to effectively minimise risk in the workplace.
    12.09.22
  • The Astutis Guide: How to pass the NEBOSH International General Certificate Image
    Toby Howell BA PGDip

    The Astutis Guide: How to pass the NEBOSH International General Certificate

    Read our ultimate guide on passing the NEBOSH International General Certificate to maximise your chance of success! Read more here.
    31.08.22
  • The Real Cost of Health and Safety Image
    Toby Howell BA PGDip

    The Real Cost of Health and Safety

    Uncover society's relationship with Health and Safety and how it may have turned a corner. Discover the human and financial cost of neglecting Health and Safety in a post COVID-19 world. Read more here. 
    25.08.22
  • Talking Rubbish: Britain's Problem with Waste Image
    Toby Howell BA PGDip

    Talking Rubbish: Britain's Problem with Waste

    Discover the current problem Britain has with recycled waste and how it can spiral into a waste crisis. Uncover how Britain could look to escape the problem by looking oversees. Read more now!
    15.08.22
  • Cycle to Work Day 2022: Shifting Gears on Climate Change Image
    Steve Terry

    Cycle to Work Day 2022: Shifting Gears on Climate Change

    Astutis' Managing Director, Steve Terry, takes readers through his personal connection to Cycle to Work Day 2022. Steve also points his forensic lense at the current state of the environment and asks what needs to be done to better the health of Planet Earth. Read more here. 
    04.08.22
Section Curve
Case Studies

Real Life Stories

Find out how learners look back on their training with Astutis. Our case studies give our learners, both individual and corporate, a platform to share their Astutis experience. Discover how training with Astutis has helped past learners and delegates make the world a safer place, one course at a time.
More Image
Bottom Curve
What People Say

Hear What Our Learners Have To Say

We're always there for our customers. 98% of our learners rated their overall experience as good or outstanding. We will always pride ourselves on our customer service. But don’t take our word for it, here is what our customers have to say
  • "Second course I have completed with Astutis, and again cannot fault them in anyway. Brilliant course, easy to understand."

    Andrew
    11.09.2022
  • "Easy to understand, engaging and interesting. Well put together."

    Andrew
    11.09.2022
  • "I'm being promptly serviced. The selection of lecturer and use of IT application are wise. The reference materials are fit for the cases."

    07.09.2022
  • "The selection of training and reference materials are fit for purpose."

    07.09.2022
  • "Good from start to finish"

    Andrew
    07.09.2022
  • "Quality course. Good value."

    Andrew
    07.09.2022
  • "The materials and professionalism of the tutor are top notch. Really absorbed the way how he teaches and considered it very effective."

    Edzel
    07.09.2022
  • "Learned a lot about UK legislation and Governance Principle"

    Edzel
    07.09.2022
  • "Good service and communication"

    Patrick
    07.09.2022
  • "Explained stuff very clearly"

    Patrick
    07.09.2022