How to write an incident report

What to Include in an Incident Report

An incident report captures the details of accidents, injuries and near misses. The main purpose of incident reports are to determine the cause of the incident and ensure corrective actions and safety measures are taken to reduce the likelihood of future occurrences.

In the event of an incident a report should be completed as soon as possible, no matter how minor. This ensures that the details and information recorded are as accurate as possible and are available in future if necessary.

However, determining how to generate the report and what to include can be a daunting task - this is where developing an incident reporting process can be extremely useful.

Here are four simple steps to create an effective incident report (and reporting process):

  1. Determine how the report will be generated
  2. Establish what needs to be recorded
  3. Create your incident report
  4. Outline your processes

Determine How The Report Will Be Generated

The most common format for incident reports is pen and paper. This method however is outdated and leaves a lot of room for error, disorganisation, inaccuracy and reporting lag time.

A way to avoid messy paper trails is by implementing a digital solution that allows incident reports to be generated and completed in real-time. Using incident reporting software allows both internal staff and contractors to report incidents via simple online incident forms.

Incident reporting software can streamline your whole process, allowing you to track all workplace incidents in one place and making it easier for everyone involved. You can pre-configure forms and fields easily so that the reporter knows all the required information they need to provide for a given incident category.

Popular incident reporting systems allow complete visibility of all incidents, injuries and near misses with a live register. This allows management to ensure that reports are completed and corrective actions and safety measures are implemented as soon as possible.

Establish What Needs To Be Recorded

To collect as much accurate information as possible, the report should ask objective questions that help outline the facts of the incident.

Including specific and unbiased questions will help collect the data needed to develop and implement corrective actions.

This information could include:

  • Name, job title, and department/company of the affected person
  • Location of the incident
  • Date of the incident
  • Time of the incident
  • Plant or equipment involved
  • Context/conditions surrounding the incident
  • (what was the employee doing, was there a hazard, etc.)
  • Witnesses details and short statements
  • Injuries (what body part(s), nature and extent of the injury)
  • Treatment sought (first aid, doctors, ambulance called, etc.)

Employing an easy-to-use incident management software allows you to implement industry-best practice templates, convert existing paper forms to digital or build customised incident forms that align to your organisation's needs, with the help of our qualified safety team.

Create Your Incident Report

A report should provide enough detail to create a picture of exactly how the incident occurred.

This can be done through objective questions, witness statements and photos of the incident site, if possible.

Some incident reporting software allows the user to upload photos straight into the incident report. Being able to document the incident in real-time with as much detail as possible, as well as providing photos of the site, will create a more effective report.

Outline Processes

Once you have collected all the necessary information, you need to ensure that it reaches the right people to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

A process should be established and communicated to ensure that the report is forwarded to the appropriate persons within the organisation.

Incident reporting software systems, like Comply Flow feature built-in corrective action management features, meaning that incident reports can be assigned to certain teams or individuals for review, and suggested remediation actions (to prevent future incidents) can be assigned and tracked until close-out.

Notifications also ensure the right people are notified about incidents for corrective action management. With the ability to assign incidents to staff members to complete any corrective actions.

Ensuring that the report is passed on to the correct people is essential as incident report data, if utilised correctly, can help organisations put safety measures and processes in place to reduce the likelihood of future incidents.

The Benefits of Incident Management Software

Investing in the right incident management software can benefit your company, workers and clients.

It is important to focus on analysing why the incident has occurred and how to prevent repeat incidents. Looking for the root cause can help you to understand where things went wrong and what measures need to be put in place to correct this.

Incident management software can help to make it a smooth and effective process, allowing you to identify trends as early as possible.

Four key benefits of using incident management software include:

1. Improved Data Accuracy

Online systems allow for immediate access to reporting tools, reporting in real time allows the persons involved to record all the information while it is still fresh. Digital solutions, like Comply Flow, offer customised reporting requirements allowing your business to capture the required information.

2. Faster Resolution Time

A major benefit of incident management software is the opportunity for better response times and resolution time frames.

Using a digital solution allows immediate access to incident reports for the necessary parties, allowing problems to be addressed quicker, and keeping employees organised throughout the process. This means incidents can be addressed in real-time without disrupting your workers.

3. Transparency

Incident management software allows you to track and document the reporting process in real-time. From start to finish, every step taken, and the person responsible for the action is documented, and can include recommendations for further safety measures or corrective actions. Online solutions enable complete transparency for stakeholders to see where the report is currently at and how the incident was resolved.

4. Improved Compliance

Implementing incident management software enables your company to provide a safer workplace and environment for any persons that your company may interact with. Ensuring better incident reporting and risk management systems are in place helps to minimise risks and hazards, which should lead to improved compliance, fewer incidents and near misses.

5. Consistent, Organised Processes

Incident management software provides a consistent, organised process that helps businesses and employees to be prepared for an incident. Having a consistent system ensures employees are aware of - and are confident within their roles - throughout the process.

Online systems, such as Comply Flow, offer user-friendly dashboards that can alert employees when steps need to be completed, meaning less downtime for your company when an incident occurs, saving you valuable company time and money.

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