Correct Format for an Incident Report

An incident report is an official record of the incidents, near miss, accidents, and events at the workplace. Timely and well-recorded incident reports may help an organization identify the cause of incidences and prevent future occurrences. Every incident reporting form should be tailored to enable easy reporting while obtaining the most relevant details. Therefore, whenever possible, the report should provide for the collection of quantifiable details of the incident and a detailed description of the vent. 

Having the right data in a report is useful when the company has to undertake a root cause analysis to uncover the incident’s precedence. When well recorded, the reports can also form part of a company’s safety procedures indicating potential risks workers may encounter. The report should be filed as soon as all employees and members of an organization are safe, and those affected have been taken care of. 

Who uses an incident report?

  • Administration. The administrative leaders may use incident reports filed by employees to assess the safety of staff and plan of the necessary remedies. 
  • Employee. These are the most probable users since they are involved in the processes and operations of the organization. They are the people reporting incidents they witnessed or were involved in. 
  • Members. Top-level members of an organization may use incident reports to raise awareness about things happening on the premises.
  • Authorities. Sometimes and in some locations, authorities may need to use incident reports to follow up on accidents and ensure compliance with the law.

What qualifies as an incident?

An incident refers to any event or occurrence that:

  • Interferes with the normal operations of the organization
  • Poses/causes a risk to the staff and members of the organization
  • Can lead to negative profiling of the workplace and attract the attention of the media
  • Can hinder the safe operation of systems at the workplace

With incident reporting, everything should be treated equally. That is to say, even minor injuries or minor system faults should be taken with great care and be reported in time. The management of an organization should be aware of and inform all employees and safety officers of any incidents to look out for and report. Here are some general occurrences that are reported in most institutions.

  • Near miss – In a near-miss situation, the occurrences of people are involved, but none sustains any injuries.
  • No-harm events – These are incidences that employees and management fear that may arise in time. They are usually reported to raise awareness of the situation so staff can remain vigilant. 
  • Adverse events -These are commonly reported in the medical and other related fields. They arise from omissions and commissions that may harm a patient and are different from the patient’s underlying condition.
  • Sentinel events -These are often referred to as accidents at the place of work and which often result in physical or psychological injury and sometimes death. 

The correct format for an incident report

Different organizations use different reporting tools. However, various aspects of an occurrence must be captured in an incident report form. Some of these fields’ presence or absence may mean that you are either using the correct for an incident report or otherwise. The best way to avoid using wrong formats is to use an incident reporting system, often populated with an incident report template for ease of use. Here is what you will find in the format of the incident report.

1. Introduction

The instruction part of the incident report seeks to establish who, what, where, and when of the occurrence. It is in this part that you give the very bare facts and a summary of the incident. This may include listing the precise location of the incident. The introduction should give a vivid picture by highlighting what happened and who was involved.

2. Body

The body is often a chronological narration of the events related to the incident from the beginning to the end. A witness with good comprehension skills better writes it. The people mentioned in the introduction should be put in the storyline to show how things unraveled. The body must also depict the setting- the physical and environmental conditions if need be- of the incident and any preceding events witnessed.

For a better follow-up and easy understanding, the body section may include the accident’s impact and highlight a few things that occurred after the incident. For instance, it is helpful to mention the magnitude of the injuries sustained by the affected people and the first aid treatment.

3. Conclusion 

Suggestions on what should be done to resolve the incident. If already resolved, describe how it was done in clear steps.  

4. Sign off

The incident reporter must append their full names and signature to the report. This is helpful if any clarifications are needed and are necessary for accountability.

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