Certainty Blog

What to Include in Incident Reporting

12 Elements to Include in Incident Reports

What is an Incident Report?

An incident report is a document that records any workplace incident, whether that be an event, situation, or condition that causes or could cause injury, damage, or disruption to an organization’s operations. Incident reports are essential for ensuring a safe working environment, managing risks, and complying with legal and regulatory requirements.

Types of Incidents to Report

In general, four main types of incidents should be reported:

Accidents: These are unforeseen incidents that lead to bodily harm, sickness, fatality, or harm or loss of assets or equipment. Instances of mishaps encompass slips, stumbles, and tumbles, vehicular crashes, fires, explosions, and chemical leaks.

Hazards: These are circumstances or elements that present a potential danger to individuals, belongings, or the natural surroundings. Instances of potential hazards include defective machinery, uncovered cables, spills, leaks, and inadequate illumination.

Near misses: These are occurrences that had the potential to cause harm, illness, fatality, or destruction, but were averted due to fortuitous circumstances or prompt intervention. Instances of close calls include a worker narrowly escaping injury from a falling object, a worker who prevents a machine from malfunctioning in time, or a driver skillfully maneuvering to avoid a collision

Security incidents: These events involve the unauthorized or illegal intrusion, utilization, revelation, alteration, or obliteration of information, assets, or facilities. Instances of security breaches or incidents can include theft, vandalism, cyberattacks, fraud, and sabotage.

What to Include in Incident Reporting

1. Date and Time of the Incident

Ensure you capture the exact date and time of the occurrence using the standardized format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS. This will greatly assist in establishing a clear timeline and sequence of events, as well as uncovering any relevant patterns or trends. A consistent and comprehensive record of the incident’s date and time will aid in tracking, reporting, and analyzing the incident data. Moreover, it will help determine response time, incident duration, and the impact on operations or services.

2. Location of the Incident

Gather the specific location of the incident, such as the building, floor, room, or area in question. To make your incident reporting even more precise, try to describe the location using a visual aid, like a map, diagram, or picture, for better clarity. These specifics are necessary to locate the event area precisely and to identify any possible environmental variables or risks. Finding the scene, evaluating the circumstances, and delivering the required resources or aid can all be facilitated by knowing the precise location of the occurrence. It can also assist in determining the environmental elements or risks that either caused or contributed to the occurrence.

3. Name and Role of the Reporter

Include the complete name and position of the individual who reported the incident, along with their contact details such as phone number, email address, or employee identification. This will establish their credibility and expertise in the matter, ensuring seamless communication and swift follow-up actions. Knowing the name and role of the reporter aids in your incident reporting by verifying the authenticity and reliability of the information, as well as facilitating further clarification, confirmation, or feedback by reaching out to the reporter.

4. Name and Role of Those Involved

Name all individuals involved in the event, whether directly or indirectly—victim, offender, manager, coworkers, etc.—along with their position within your incident reporting. The concerned person(s)’s contact details, such as their phone number, email address, or employee ID, should also be provided. In addition to determining the amount of harm and culpability, this will assist in identifying the parties involved in the occurrence or charge of it. People who were impacted by or accountable for the incident can be identified with the help of their names and roles. Along with assisting in deciding on the proper course of action, it may also be useful in assessing the effect and culpability.

5. Name and Role of Witnesses

If someone can provide a thorough witness statement, whether through seeing or hearing the incident take place, gather their full name and position and include that in your incident reporting. The witness(es)’ contact details, including their phone number, email address, or employee ID, should also be included. In addition to identifying any prospective witnesses or sources, this will assist validate the incident’s facts and specifics. Details about the occurrence, such as the witnesses’ names and roles, might be used to support the facts.

6. Description of the Incident

Collect the relevant details of the incident such as what occurred, how it happened, why it happened, and any repercussions or outcomes. To address all pertinent components of the situation, you should apply the 5W1H technique (who, what, when, where, why, and how). Additionally, you should refrain from using slang, jargon, or viewpoints and instead use clear, concise language. This will assist in giving a thorough summary of the occurrence and highlighting its main features and problems.

Example: On January 25, 2024, at 10:15 a.m., a fire broke out in the ABC Restaurant’s kitchen at 123 Main Street. The fire started when a malfunctioning gas burner ignited a grease spill on the floor. The fire spread swiftly to surrounding cupboards and appliances, resulting in intense smoke and flames. The smoke alarm informed the restaurant’s personnel and customers, and they fled the premises. The fire department came within 10 minutes and extinguished the flames. There were no injuries, but the kitchen was severely damaged, forcing the restaurant to close for repairs.

7. Cause of The Incident

Uncover the core issue or the contributing factors that precipitated the incident, such as human error, equipment malfunction, policy violation, and more. Again, using the 5 Whys technique, dig deeper into the reasons and causes of the incident by repeatedly asking why until you unearth the root cause. Take your incident discovery further with evidence, data, or logical reasoning. Gaining an understanding of the underlying reasons and factors that led to the incident can aid in preventing or reducing the likelihood of recurrence, as well as enhancing performance and quality.

8. Action Taken During or After the Incident

Describe any activities or steps done during or after the occurrence, such as asking for assistance, administering first aid, evacuating the area, repairing damage, and so on. You should also specify who executed the activities, when they occurred, and how they were carried out. Documenting the activities or measures done during or after the event can assist in determining the success and appropriateness of the reaction, as well as highlighting any gaps or opportunities for improvement.

9. Injuries or Damages Caused by the Incident

Report any injuries or losses caused by the occurrence, including bodily injuries, property damage, financial loss, reputational harm, and so on. You should also define the magnitude or severity of the injuries or damages, such as the number of individuals hurt, the amount of money lost, the level of damage, and so on. Reporting the injuries or losses caused by the occurrence can assist in identifying the effects and repercussions of the incident, as well as compensation or culpability.

10. Recommendations Prevent or Minimize Future Incidents

Provide advice or ideas on how to stop or lessen such situations in the future, like putting new rules, procedures, or training into place, enhancing the surroundings or equipment, raising awareness or fostering more communication, etc. Along with outlining the anticipated advantages or results, you should also describe how your ideas or proposals would address the incident’s underlying causes or contributing elements. In addition to increasing stakeholder satisfaction and trust, offering advice or proposals to prevent or limit similar events can assist in improving operations or service quality and safety.

11. Signature of the Reporter and the Supervisor

Along with the reporter’s and supervisor’s names and roles, sign and date the incident report. This will attest to the information’s truth and completeness and recognize each party’s obligation and duty. Ensuring the authenticity and dependability of the data and streamlining the review and approval process are two benefits of signing and date the incident report.

12. Attachments or Appendices

Photographs, diagrams, maps, receipts, invoices, statements, and other items that are pertinent or helpful for the incident report should be attached or appended. The appendices and attachments should be labeled and cited in the report’s main body. It might be helpful to add further information or supporting documentation to the incident report to strengthen the analysis and suggestions made.

Let Certainty Help

With Certainty Software, turn your inefficient and less accurate paper-based incident report forms into immediate, actionable, and simpler digital-based reports. Customize and build your risk management forms to ensure consistent safety measures across your organization with our Checklist Builder. With immediate feedback systems, manage corrective actions for incidents with an immediate notification system and action delegation to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring. Better track how your organization is improving workplace safety efforts with real-time reporting that paints a clear and detailed picture of safety compliance.

Schedule a demo today to learn how Certainty can improve your performance and sustainability.

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