What Can Higher Education Learn from Aviation Incident Reporting?

At first glance, the world of aviation and the world of higher education seems to have little to nothing in common. However, the way aviation conducts and manage incident reports can provide higher education institutions with an incredibly useful tool to improve their operations, and thus provide safer and happier environments for their students, staff and visitors. 

Here will discuss what Higher Education can learn from the way that Aviation does incident reporting.

Incident Reporting in Aviation


In aviation, there is a lot that can go wrong that could have disastrous consequences. Despite this, the risk of dying in an aeroplane crash is 1 in 11 million, compared to 1 in 5000 for a car crash. This is due, in part, to a successful system of incident reporting.

This emerged in the high-pressure environment of aviation, wherein it is essential to collect as much data as possible so that nothing slips under the radar.

It would be incredibly difficult, perhaps impossible, for a small group of people to accomplish this. You cannot be everywhere all the time. To have effective incident reporting, you need to involve as many people as possible and note any near misses and close-calls.

This is exactly what the aviation industry does with incident reporting. Every stakeholder is involved in the process. From the airport and airline staff to the customers and ground workers, everyone plays a crucial role in ensuring incidents are reported. They must observe everything and anything. These reports do not only relate to safety practices. They can also relate to quality, risk, environment, HR and security.


Why is This Relevant For Higher Education?


The world of higher education deals with fewer life-or-death risks on a day-to-day basis than aviation. However, like aviation, higher education hosts and caters many stakeholders. It is also similar in that it is important for everything on the premises to be in a good state. If not, this could create an unsafe work environment, poorly managed areas and buildings, and lower quality education.

Again, it is difficult to maintain the premises because the safety team cannot be everywhere all the time. This is where aviation’s model of incident reporting comes in. Higher education institutions can implement a similar process that engages multiple stakeholders – most notably the staff, students, and visitors.

This will alert the safety team about any incidents that are a big problem or could collectively become a big problem over time. It will foster collaboration when it comes to ensuring safety, faster response times and actions on incidents.

While incredibly useful, aviation-style incident reporting involves quite a complex process that is difficult to implement if you do not understand it well. Luckily, you do not have to create an incident-reporting process from scratch. You simply need to choose the right software, which will do most of the work for you.

Choose a software tool that needs minimal training to use. This will make it easy for all stakeholders to be involved in a process of incident reporting. They will not need intimate knowledge of how the process works, and will still have access to provide valuable insights on anything that happens on campus. 


Final thoughts


While aviation and higher education are two quite different industries with different needs, the incident reporting processes share best practices. Higher Education can take inspiration and learn from the strategies that Aviation employs to collect more insights and signals from the field to improve on operations and catch any potential threats before they become big problems. 

Are you looking for a tool to improve safety at work and efficiency management, feedback, as well as other reactive reporting processes in your organisation? ticks all the boxes for low-threshold reporting, analytics and follow-up actions. Is easy to customise, enables real dialogue, anonymous reporting, and a lot more. Book a demo or start a 30-Days FREE Trial to see how it can help your organisation:

Start your FREE 30-day trial

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

Occupational safety Incident Management

Camilla Petersen

Country Manager, Denmark