In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need a workplace incident report. However, incidents can and do happen even in the most health and safety-conscious workplaces. It could be an accident, injury, near miss, security incident, or property damage. Incident reports are a valuable tool for capturing detailed information about the event. And it’s vital to risk management and ensuring a safe and healthy working environment.
Today’s post provides a step-by-step guide to the incident reporting process. We’ll walk you through all you need to know. By the end, you will have a robust framework for handling adverse events. And you will be better placed to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
Also included is a free downloadable employee incident report template.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
What Is An Incident Report In The Workplace?
An incident report form is a tool for recording relevant information about workplace accidents, injuries, illnesses, and near misses. It can also document a security incident, property damage, or safety issues.
It’s crucial to record all incidents, even near misses or those resulting in only minor injuries. Ideally, incident report forms should be completed when the incident occurs or very soon afterward. This helps preserve key details while the memory is fresh for the parties involved.
All incident reports should be collated in a central register. The data must be reported regularly to senior management to ensure compliance with occupational health requirements and relevant laws.
What Is The Purpose Of An Incident Report?
Every employer has a duty to ensure that their employees are safe and secure. However, incident reporting is about more than just ensuring compliance with federal or state rules and regulations. Properly documented workplace incidents mean you can carry out effective investigations into what happened and identify root causes. You can then take corrective action to address those issues and eliminate potential hazards.
Here are some more compelling reasons why creating incident reports is so crucial.
More severe accidents are prevented when safety issues are identified and fixed at the earliest opportunity.
Incident reporting boosts worker morale and wellbeing. It reassures the workforce that you take their health and safety seriously and will take the proper steps in dealing with any incidents.
Save Time And Resources
The costs of court cases, compensation, and insurance claims soon mount up. And there’s also the damage to your employer brand and company reputation. Getting a grip on incident reporting saves you the headache of dealing with more severe accidents and adverse events.
Promote A Robust Safety Culture
Incident reports are the foundation of a robust health and safety culture. Incidents are responded to in a timely manner. Workers are aware of potential hazards. Expectations are clear, and potential risks are identified and minimized.
Management can more easily monitor trends and patterns over time. With improved oversight comes a greater awareness of staff training needs. For example, a crop of accidents involving workers not wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) like a hard hat or eye goggles may indicate the need for refresher training.
What Does An Incident Report Include?
Most incident reports are completed onsite at the time the incident occurred. The best incident report examples are clear and concise. You want to make it as easy as possible for the individuals involved to report incidents while capturing the key information and contributing factors.
Let’s break down the essential details your incident report form must include:
- Type of event – for example, accident, injury, near miss, or workplace violence
- The specific location of the incident
- Names and contact details of the individuals involved and any witnesses
- Statement of facts related to the incident
- Environmental conditions impacting the event
- Details of injuries sustained and medical treatment
- Report on any damage to property or equipment
How Do I Write An Incident Report?
The details we have highlighted above provide the skeleton outline of your form. And here are some best-practice tips to guide you in creating an effective incident report template:
- Include your corporate branding. The form should be instantly recognizable as part of your business, so add your logo and use your company colors
- Organize the form into sections using boxes. This makes it easy for the employee completing the form to read and follow what’s required, so nothing gets missed
- Add a brief description to each field. Guide form fillers by including a short description of the information required for each section
- Encourage employees completing the form to attach photos and videos of the site and any injuries
- Create a draft incident report template and get feedback from employees. Set up an employee focus group to assist in developing the incident form. It’s a great way to get buy-in from workers. And the feedback will help you refine and improve the design
What Are The 4 Types Of Incident Report?
There are several ways to categorize workplace incident reports. Options vary depending on the nature of your workplace and the type of business. However, the following four types of incident report are some of the most common:
Near Miss Incident
These reports record events where there was no injury, but there could have been. An excellent example of a near miss is an employee who slips on a wet floor but manages to regain their balance without hurting themselves.
Reporting a near miss lets you deal with the potential hazard and stop future accidents. In this case, clearing up the spill or identifying the area as a hazard with a sign would prevent other accidents.
Injury And Lost Time Incident Report
This incident report example records injuries that result in an employee needing time off work. Perhaps the worker cut their hand on some machinery and needed medical treatment. They may be unable to work until the injury is healed.
Keeping a record of injuries and lost time helps you monitor the frequency and severity of incidents. And you also keep track of the impact on productivity.
Exposure Incident Report
An exposure incident is when a worker is exposed to a hazardous substance that could seriously impact their health. Examples include a chemical spill or inhaling toxic fumes.
Reporting these kinds of incidents helps you accurately assess workplace risk and identify corrective action.
Sentinel Event Incident Report
Sentinel events are the most serious category of incidents. These reports document events resulting in death, severe harm, or permanent disability to a worker. An employee falling from a great height or getting electrocuted by faulty wiring would come under this category.
With these kinds of tragic events, a thorough investigation must take place. Incident report forms are a vital first step. You will need to identify the root causes and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Incident Report Form Templates
Incident report templates simplify the process for everyone involved. All the facts related to the incident are gathered, and nothing is missed. Plus, the data collected ensures that management is on top of their compliance and reporting obligations.
Furthermore, workers can be confident that the organization values their health and safety and prioritizes a safety culture.
MyHub’s incident report template is a fantastic starting point. Reflecting the latest best practice, our template includes all the critical elements to record incidents. Our incident record template is ready to go as is. Or you can adapt it to suit your organization’s needs.
PDF Download: Incident Report Form PDF
Word Document Download: Incident Report Form Word Document
Incident Reporting: Next Steps
Just because you have completed an incident report doesn’t mean the task is done. The following steps are equally important to incident reporting. And will ensure incident report forms inform your safety and health practice.
Analyze And Monitor Incident Report Templates
Look for patterns that indicate underlying issues and try to minimize potential risks and hazards.
Ensure your people know how to complete an incident report form and are aware of its importance. The analysis of incident reporting may highlight areas for staff reskilling and upskilling. Be sure to respond to those swiftly.
The whole process is undermined if you don’t act on the information gathered. Management should use the data to develop improved safety procedures and health and safety measures. Here are some ideas around possible corrective action:
- Changes to equipment or PPE
- Preventative routine maintenance to plant or machinery
- Review of job practices to reduce the risk of incidents
- Employee training on how to manage workplace hazards
Workplace Incident Report: Final Thoughts
According to the latest Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) data, 2.6 million incidents of non-fatal workplace injuries were reported in the private sector. Industries with the highest rates included healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.
Furthermore, the BLS reported that in 2021 – the latest statistics available – over 5000 fatal workplace injuries were recorded in the US. Construction, warehousing, and transportation suffered the most fatalities. It’s worth noting that fatal workplace accidents were up nearly nine percent on the previous year. And that increase is even more alarming when you consider it was in the middle of Covid-19 lockdowns.
There’s no getting away from it. The statistics paint a grim picture. Non-fatal and fatal workplace injuries remain far too common. Companies need to take steps to protect workers, and incident report forms are the best place to start.
Download your free employee incident report template today. And start improving your organization’s workplace health and safety.
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