December 5, 2017 | Mark Paradies

Not Near-Misses … They Are Precursors

Precursor Incidents

I had an epiphany today.

Have you ever noticed how management doesn’t take near-miss incidents seriously? They don’t see them as just one step away from a fatality?

I think part of the problem may be the terminology.

A near-miss doesn’t sound very serious. After all … it was a miss.


But what if we called these incidents PRECURSORS? Precursor Incidents!

It is Going to Happen

A precursor tells you that something IS going to happen unless you change.


If management saw these incidents as an indicator that something was GOING TO HAPPEN, then maybe, they would take action.

You may have already thought of this and changed the language that you use around incidents … but I haven’t seen the words PRECURSOR INCIDENTS used very often. Now may be the time for TapRooT® Users to start using Precursor Incidents in their language.

What Aren’t Precursors?

One more thing … Precursor Incidents mean that incidents that could not cause an accident ARE NOT precursors. Thus, paper cuts are not precursors of amputations.

Therefore, we can stop wasting our time investigating incidents that will never cause a serious injury. We will only investigate precursor incidents and accidents with actual consequences.

consequences - near-miss?
Are these consequences enough to call this an accident OR is it a precursor incident?

Also, real accidents that have consequences aren’t precursors incidents. They are real accidents.

Just a thought … What do you think?

Root Cause Analysis
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