Why Incident Reports Should Be Completed

This article will address the five critical reasons why completing incident reports within an organization is beneficial to the organization and the individuals within it.

Incidents at work happen all the time. And a progressive operation documents each and every incident in accordance with the health and safety policy they have implemented. But why should an incident report be completed in the first place? Why not just deal with the situation and move forward? Is there a purpose to all this paperwork?

Incident reports need to be completed by individuals within businesses and organizations for multiple reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to the following.

  • Accident Prevention
  • Incident Tracking
  • Limiting Liability
  • Preventing Operational Breakdowns
  • Increases Awareness

We’re going to look at each of these five beneficiary pillars of the incident reporting process. Each pillar will be examined to deliver the reasons why you and your organization are better off to implement a complete and proactive incident reporting system.

Why Complete An Incident Report? Here’s Why

1. Accident Prevention

Accident prevention is the primary goal of a health and safety program for any business, no matter the industry. Using incident reports aids in creating effective policies, processes and procedures for the purpose of establishing hazards and actively preventing incidents. The process of reporting and preventing accidents has benefits for both the individual and the organization alike. Let’s take a quick look at each below.

For The Individual

Did you know that in 2019, 5,333 work place deaths occured in the United States? That’s 2% higher than 2018 and showing a disturbing trend. (source)

Individuals are always best attempting to aid in accident prevention at work. So doing your part by filling out an incident report, whether a Near Miss or event where injury occured. Remember that reporting a Dangerous Situation can help prevent it from becoming a serious injury or worse.

For The Organization

When an organization faces their first fine for an accident they know that the financial cost can be high. But even if a company reports accidents properly, there are many situations where an increase in insurance rates is imminent due to an accident in the workplace. Whether you’re dealing with a claim through WCB (New York), CNESST (Quebec), WSIB (Ontario), or somewhere else, each state, province or territory typically has their own reporting authority. And there are both deadlines to reporting accidents as well as fines for not reporting or attempting to cover up an at-work accident. Therefore, it is always in the best interest of an organization to ensure that all accidents are reported internally so management can determine if governmental agency reporting is required.

2. Incident Tracking

If you are going to attempt to prevent accidents, as mentioned above, then tracking the incidents is an integral step to the reporting process. Tracking incidents is beneficial for both the individual and the organization. Let’s take a look at how.

For The Individual

Individuals benefit within organizations in two primary ways from a robust incident tracking process. The first is the aforementioned accident prevention. No one wants to get hurt, so prevention is the primary benefit that individuals receive by incident tracking. Secondly is the benefit of a safer workplace with the peace of mind of knowing that everyone is looking out for everyone else’s safety.

For The Organization

Incident tracking is a primary means for organizations to mitigate disaster by preventing accidents, equipment and property damage and more. Using a seamless digital reporting app like 1st Incident Reporting or another less feature-packed system to track your companies reportable incidents is essential for limiting liability and expenses related to incidents.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

3. Limiting Liability

Liability is a huge issue in our modern world. Lawyers are seemingly on every corner, eagerly awaiting a person or company to slip up. And there are those out there that prey upon people and companies to find opportunities for litigation.

For The Individual

Any situation, whether an incident like an employee injury or a potential accident from equipment malfunction, the last thing anyone needs is to be held accountable for injuring someone else. Did you know that if you manage anyone at all in the workplace that you could be liable if they are injured at work? 

In positions of management or even supervisory roles, we are each liable for the health and safety of those who work with us, under our supervision. Due to this simple fact, it is imperative that individuals take incident reporting seriously if for at the very least merely to limit their own personal liability.

For The Organization

The benefits to a business limiting their liability is obvious. With over $100 billion each year in litigation losses for small business in the US, it’s no wonder liability is on everyone’s mind. (source)

Limiting a company’s exposure to risk both financial and otherwise is essential to maintaining lower costs of operations. Fines and industry blackmarks aside, poor reporting practises do nothing to limit liability and often cost companies many times more than following regulation would have in the first place. Consider the increases to standard insurance rates for an employer should the employer be found negligent when it comes to following regulatory reporting practises.

4. Preventing Operational Breakdowns

Incidents that cause opartional disturbances slow everyone down. Sure, if your’re a worker and you want a day off then your work shutting down for the day isn’t such a bad thing. But, what if you really need the money and the company has to close permanently? It’s easy to understand how operational business can affect both individuals and businesses alike. Let’s go a bit more into detail.

For The Individual

Most of the time, individuals who face operational breakdowns at work are happy for a break. But what affects a company’s bottom line will inevitably affect each individual in the company. Whether it’s less opportunity for advancement, lower bonuses, or even as far as lay-offs, everyone feels the pinch eventually. If employees play their part in the incident reporting process, further costly operational breakdowns can be prevented.

For the individuals in management, you can relate to how a team-oriented workforce is far more beneficial to your operations than a rebellious workforce. Those staff that are ‘company men and women’ make the jobs of management easier by aiding in reporting potential incidents pre-emptively. When equipment fatigue is noticed by perspective personnel, equipment failure can be mitigated with preventive maintenance action. It is only plausible with a vibrant incident reporting system in place.

For The Organization

As mentioned for the individuals in management, the organization itself also obviously benefits from a positive reporting system. From saving on preventable expenses from incidents to increasing safety of staff and clients alike, there are supremely more benefits for an organization to complete incident reports than there are liabilities.

Learn more here about The Incident Report And Disclosure Process here.

5. Increases Awareness

Finally we’ll talk a bit about why an incident report should be completed and this is because the process increases awareness. Here’s how it affects the individual as well as the organization.

For The Individual

Increased personal awareness for all individuals involved in or around an incident is vital to prevent further or repeated injury or damage to people or property. Here we can see the imminent importance of completing an incident report and how it can impact the lives of those around. 

Pre-emptive behavior to avoid injury or incident only occurs when we have knowledge of a potential hazard. Incident reporting is a primary means for individuals to communicate to others in the workplace that there is a potential danger that requires attention.

For The Organization

Increasing awareness by completing incident reports within an organization is beneficial for two reasons. First, it helps prevent incidents from occuring in the first place which saves an organizatoin from costly incidents and down-time. The second benefit for the organization is the affect upon the organizations overall appearance and brand within the community. Any business known to care about the safety of its workers is a business that will attract positive and productive staff. A stronger workforce makes a business stronger. So, in the end, good incident reporting really is a win-win.

Taking Incident Reporting To The Next Level

If you’re looking to save even more time and money making your incident reporting all the more efficient, then you should consider a digital reporting solution. 

1st Incident Rporting are the specialists in all thing incident reporting. The app allows your company to take control of your incident repoton process with detailed reports, instandt notifications, instant report online access and more. Want to learn more? 

Sources