An incident is any situation that causes damage to property or people. It can also be a condition or event that has the potential to result in harm. This harm can be to a company’s assets, property or its workers.
Incident reports document occurrences like these. They are useful for understanding the causes and results of the event and dealing with its consequences.
Why Should Incidents Be Reported? The 3 Important Benefits Of Incident Reports
All businesses should prioritise fostering a culture of reporting, with an effective reporting process. These are the benefits of having incident reporting systems in place:
1. Future Prevention
Knowing the details of potentially or already harmful events can help prevent them in future. Nobody wants to work in an environment that can pose a danger to them. Preventing harm is good for employee morale and cultivating a safe workplace. Prevention is also ideal for the company’s profits by reducing damage to assets and property.
2. Constant Improvement Of Policies & Process
With the details from previous incidents, it’s easier to learn from history. A company can improve its policies based on past reports. They can also compare incoming reports with industry policies and requirements and adapt suitably.
3. Developing A Safety Culture: Communication & Awareness
When reporting is not seen as a blame game or a difficult process, more people report. If your staff knows the importance of reporting and is aware of how to do it, they can be encouraged to make their work environment safer.
Types Of Incident Reports
There are many different scenarios that could occur within a workplace and need investigating. As such, there are various types of incident reports that apply to different situations. Some of these include:
- Near Miss Reports
- Accident/Injury Reports
- Security Reports
- Workplace Incident Reports
- Adverse Event Reports
- IT Incident Reports
- Fraud Reports
- Patient Safety Reports
- Harassment Reports
- Whistleblower reports
Why Conduct A Structured Report With Required Information
Different kinds of incidents may require different information to be included in the report. As a result, it’s important to have unique forms and/or processes for specific incidents.
Structuring incident forms and the reporting process makes following up, recommendations, and feedback a lot easier. If your company has insurance policies in place (which it should) insurers may need specific details about the incident.
Gathering incident reports as things happen can help make processes like this faster and easier to navigate. If your industry has specific details that may be required (i.e.: a construction business may need to have a permit for certain machinery), having forms that include such details helps to make the admin go quicker.
Overall, being prepared with the required information just makes things more efficient.
Best Practices For Incident Reports
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this article: how to write an incident report. Here are some tips for writing good reports.
You want the report to be as insightful as possible, but keep in mind that you’re not trying to tell the sides of a story. Your report is not an opinion piece. Rather, you need to include as many factual details as you can.
To help with collecting facts, the report must be documented as soon after the event as possible. Immediacy allows for fresh recollections of events and facts, making the information more accurate.
You want to get as much context as possible by asking:
- When the incident took place?
- Who was involved or present?
- Where did the incident happen?
- What are the causes and consequences of the incident?
- Why/ How the incident occurred?
Drafting the report swiftly also provides you with input from the witnesses themselves. Plus, pictures and videos of the ‘where’ help to flesh out the information. The quicker you write this report, the faster recommendations can be made to deal with the causes and/or the ‘why’.
Lastly, get signatures from the witnesses, managers and the affected parties (if possible). Their validation corroborates the facts and can be taken as an affirmation of the report’s accuracy during an investigation.
A good incident report is only one aspect of the reporting process. The report itself needs to be given to all the right people so that action can be taken. It’s important not to let the document get lost in the ether with no clear results or recommendations.
In addition to an incident report form or document, a business needs to have a system (including dedicated people) that moves the case along. Having an incident management system in place will help the necessary people to stay in the loop and ensure that any incidents are resolved efficiently to prevent them from happening again.
Leaving incidents dead in the water could damage employee confidence in reporting. They would then stop reporting and the lack of action could lead to future damage and/or injury. Rather, nip risks in the bud and deal with reports efficiently!
Should You Choose A Mobile Solution For Incident Reporting?
Fundamentally, incident reporting is about avoiding costs to the company from incidents. Think about how much incidents of fraud, injury or even an IT incident may cost you. All these could easily be avoided if your employees were more engaged in reporting and fixing incidents.
By lowering the threshold of reporting, a mobile incident management platform can help to identify any potential for incidents before one can occur. Not only this, but it makes the entire reporting process more efficient and accessible by automating communication and effectively cutting out the middlemen.
Cellphones are handy and almost everybody carries one around. Workers can fill in incident forms on their phones almost immediately (with visual evidence to boot!). Progress and feedback can be logged and updated in real-time - keeping everyone in the know. This enables faster conclusions and decision-making while creating a log of the events so that you can learn from them.
We’ve all probably heard of the saying, “There’s no better teacher than experience”. Incident reporting is all about learning from the past and ensuring workplace safety for everyone. With a mobile incident management solution, you will have all the tools you need to develop the best incident reporting policies and processes for your business.
If you're looking for a incident reporting platform that is hyper easy-to-use, ticks all the boxes for anonymity, two-way communication, has built-in workflows for multiple use cases and more, have a look at our incy.io | Whistleblowing module and contact us for more information!
We're a tech company with a passion for helping our customers adapt to the fast changing VUCA world. We're doing that by developing easy-to-use SaaS products that make gathering, managing and analysing field information as easy as possible for the end users. Remove gatekeepers, go horizontal and learn from your mistakes before they actually happen. More info at planbrothers.io