The most important aspect of building an incident report is to keep it simple. In order to actually receive continuous reporting at all levels of safety and security, the process of filling in a form has to be easy. If the form is too long, nobody is going to insert their observations and only the most severe cases will be reported.
The most important questions in an incident report
After categorising all different types of possible incidents , the company can use a form to actually receive those safety observations and incident reports.
In the report form, the most important questions are the following:
Which category? It’s crucial to describe exactly what happened. The whole process starts by selecting the category which the incident falls into. This is extremely helpful in building statistics.
What happened? After the category is selected, the next questions are what exactly, where, when, to whom and who filed the information. The more specific you can be, the better. Especially if the report needs to be revisited after a year or two, it’s much easier to recall the events if they are well-described in the report.
Insert a photo In a majority of cases, it’s easy to take a photo of the incident and the circumstances. It often explains and introduces more information than tons of text. However, the written information still plays a key role and the report content shouldn’t be solely based on photos.
Consequential follow-up questions
The follow-up questions are dependent on the type of industry, its segments, the severity of a deviation and its category. For instance, a major water damage at a site is a severe deviation, but it’s not crucial to ask “which body part was injured”.
Although there is variation among the follow-up questions depending on the incident, the following aspects should be carefully considered:
Follow-up measures? Basically describing what happened immediately after the incident. Who called the ambulance? Was the police involved?
What is the root cause? What initially caused the incident? Was it poorly trained staff? Or a machinery defect?
Future prevention? How are we preventing such incidents taking place in the future?
Statistics predict the future
Deviations can be analysed by using quantitative and qualitative metrics. Every company should collect data from incident reports and look at the input in order to spot in-house trends. For quantitative and qualitative data analysis purposes, it’s a good idea to consider the following questions.
Examples of quantitative questions are:
- The number of lost working days?
- The number of lost working hours?
- Overall incident costs?
Examples of qualitative questions are:
- Was the police involved?
- Which body parts were injured?
- How severe was the incident?
Investigating statistics, each company is able to look at the lagging and leading indicators and predict the future of incident probability.
When incidents and deviations take place, it’s also important to assign a person responsible for the follow-up tasks. What is the current state of the deviation? What is the deadline for fixing the issue?
After the incident has been reported, the root causes tackled and future preventive measures taken, the deviation doesn’t need to be revisited except for possibly as a document. The important part is to have a fool-proof incident reporting system so that no important question or responsibility goes unnoticed. For a modern incident report, the options are to choose between SaaS or a bespoke app. In addition to ensure that the same incidents doesn't happen over and over again, implement VUCA in your strategy around incident reporting.
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