Incident reports are an essential tool for worker care. From their origin on paper to the fully customizable digital versions that exist today, they are a fundamental document to record every detail of an event, with the intention that these do not happen again in the future.
Although companies have protection and prevention measures, accidents do happen. To avoid them in the future, a clear and defined track record is key. And technology allows them to be created, following guidelines such as the one we expose below.
What is considered an incident?
An incident is any event, condition or situation that:
- Causes disruption or interference in a business
- Causes significant risks that could affect the workers of a company
- Impacts workplace systems and operation
- Generates negative press coverage or a negative image for the company
What is a work incident report?
The work incident report is a document that seeks to document, with details, all accidents and incidents that occur in the workplace. It should include all the information necessary to explain how, when, where and why an incident occurred.
Although they are originally physical documents, the advancement of technology and digitization allow for fully digital reports of workplace incidents.
Objectives of an incident report
The incident report has the objective of providing all the necessary data to carry out an investigation and subsequent analysis of an event. For that, you have to report on the cause and the necessary corrective actions to eliminate the risks involved and prevent future similar events. In addition, they can be used as safety documents, indicating potential risks and dangers detected in the workplace.
Benefits of making an incident report
Reporting incidents seeks to promote and improve safety in the workplace. This improves the safety of a company, helps it stand out and creates a solid and healthy work environment and culture for workers. However, there are more benefits:
- Faster measures – if a work incident occurs, the action of preparing an incident report can lead to immediate and necessary measures, preventing worse situations. This also helps make workers aware of reporting all types of incidents, large or small. In addition, it reinforces the responsibility that leaders and managers have to guarantee a safer place for their workers.
- Better communication – communicating incidents to all workers involved helps raise awareness of the potential hazards that may arise. That helps leaders and supervisors ensure preventative measures are in place and is an essential tool for industries where tasks are associated with the greatest risks, such as the construction, manufacturing, mining, and even office industries, which are accident prone due to potential hazards that can be overlooked.
- Continuous process improvement – An incident report provides a clear picture of what an organization should focus on solving. It also provides valuable information on which processes need to be changed, improved, or eliminated, helping management implement new policies and regulations in order to determine the effectiveness of these safety and quality changes. This could also mean critical assessments of whether workers would need more skills training or a better provision of equipment..
When to prepare an incident report?
An incident report should be made as soon as an accident occurs. Punctuality is important, because waiting too long makes it difficult to remember the details of the event.
In addition, the speed means that an eventual affected person can access compensation benefits as soon as possible in the event that the incident prevents them from working.
Incident report: What information to include?
Regardless of whether it is a printed or digitized report, personalization is a factor that allows it to be adapted to the specific needs of each company. A key piece of information is that you include the specific risks and incidents that are most common in your business. And among the common factors for most are these factors:
Location of the incident
The location of the event is elementary and provides information to prevent future similar events in the same place. Ideally, have a broad description of the place and then establish a more specific area.
Date and hour
Once the location is determined, when the incident occurred is critical. The more specific the better. Establishing the exact moment, with exact day and time, can help the team to become more aware of the risks that can occur during that period.
Both the people who were protagonists and the witnesses must be considered in the report. Supervisors, administrators or other people with related roles should also be on the incident report, as well as emergency services or anyone else who has been called to the scene.
Details of the incident
Once the initial data has been defined, it is necessary to provide all the complementary data that serve to illustrate each moment that occurred before, during and after the event. This type of information is essential and, in many cases, makes it possible to clarify the real circumstances and reasons that generated the incident.
Producing an incident report requires more than just recording the events that have occurred. And that is called follow-up. Once the details of the incident are documented, follow-up actions need to be listed to help create a plan to prevent the same type of incident from happening again in the future.
Contact with participants
Having the data of those involved and the witnesses of an incident allows first-hand access to the person responsible for presenting the report and the people who were at the scene of the events in case it is necessary to obtain information about the event in the future. If the incident requires legal action, it will be necessary to have signed documentation to proceed with the compensation benefits of those affected or insurance claims.