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Incident Report Template

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An incident report template is a pre-set format used by organizations to record specific details related to an incident. These reports are instrumental in improving the safety and security measures at a workplace. Following types of incidents can be recorded using the template:

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Guide to filling an Incident Report Template

Workplace incidents are a common occurrence. When a commercial kitchen is working at its full capacity, incidents like food spillage, water spillage leading to someone slipping and getting hurt is highly likely. Places like gyms, salons, spas have many such operations where it is highly likely that someone may end up getting hurt. 

When such incidents happen, it is important to make a note of it, analyze the reason behind such an incident and come up with a corrective action to avoid such incidents in the future. However, a set standard or guideline should be followed to record, analyze and take corrective action in such cases. Here, we will learn to create and fill an incident report template to ensure a safe work environment and be better prepared when such unpleasant incidents occur.

Let’s begin by understanding, what is an incident report form?

An incident report form is used for recording any episode that may or may not have caused illness, injury, or any equipment damage or property damage at the workplace. 

Incident Report Template

An incident report template is a pre-set format used by organizations to record specific details related to an incident. These reports are instrumental in improving the safety and security measures at a workplace. Following types of incidents can be recorded using the template:

  • Employee injuries or accident
  • Near misses
  • Property damage
  • Accidents
  • Employee misconduct
  • Fire incidents
  • Theft
  • Security issues

What all should an Incident Report template include?

The primary purpose of an incident report is to clearly identify workplace mishaps and the reasons that led to the event. This is important especially in preventing more such incidents from happening in the future. 

Keeping this in mind, a good template should have the below columns to accurately record information:

  • Nature of the incident (injury, near miss, property damage, or theft)
  • Location (complete address)
  • Date when the incident occurred
  • Time (exact or if not sure an approximate time window)
  • Name of affected individual or individuals (in case many people have been impacted)
  • A narrative description of the incident
  • Detailed sequence of events
  • Outcome/result of the incident
  • Detailed description of injury, illness or accident
  • Details of the treatment given or suggested
  • Names of the witness
  • Detailed witness statements
  • Name of the affected employee’s supervisor and detailed statement
  • Video and/or 360-degree photographs of the place where the incident occurred

When writing the narrative, describe quantifiable measures wherever possible. For example, weight of an object involved, speed of the machinery, number of stairs etc. 

In incidents where more than one person have been affected, it would be a good practice to create individual reports for each employee. In such a scenario general details like time, place etc. will be the same. However, medical reports, statements will be unique to each person.

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When should an Incident Report be created and completed?

Ideally, you should create an incident Report as soon as you have ensured that the affected employee/employees are safe. This implies that the said employee has got the required medical attention and immediate corrective action has been taken to prevent any further damage.

It is best to record details pertaining to an incident within hours of its occurrence. This will ensure that all the events have been recorded with utmost accuracy. It is understandable that you may take a few days to complete your report as it involves recording statements of all those involved, investigating the site etc. In case of hospitalization getting medical reports also takes time. However, it is recommended to start writing your incident report within hours of when the incident happened to ensure accuracy. 

If you are the person responsible, ensure that the incident sight has been properly secured. Second, all those impacted have received immediate medical attention if required. Third, immediately start gathering facts related to the incident. 

In many cases, company policies and local regulatory bodies have a defined time frame within which you may be legally bound to complete an incident report within a certain pre-defined time frame. 

What mistakes should you avoid when filling an Incident Report?

Reporting an incident in a correct and accurate manner is extremely important to encourage, promote and create a safer workplace environment. Incident reports mean more to an organization than just another mandatory form to complete. These reports, if filled correctly, can provide relevant information on compliances and record keeping practices. However, if the reporting is compromised by missing out on important details the entire purpose is futile. The following two common mistakes should be avoided at all costs:

  • Blame game
  • Getting the report completed in a hurry

Blame Game: It is only human to put the blame on someone for any mishap. However, the purpose of an incident report is not to blame someone for an incident. The focus of the report is to improve workplace safety. If you take the approach of putting the blame on someone, it is unlikely that witnesses will cooperate with you during the investigation. At the outset, instill the confidence that you will follow the company policy, rules and regulations when investigating the case. Do not pinpoint or blame someone. This approach will ensure that you get full cooperation and an honest account of events from those involved. This is extremely important for an accurate report.

Getting the report completed in a hurry: Never write or fill your report in a hurry to get it completed just for the sake of it. In doing so you may end up missing out on an important detail and defeat the entire purpose of writing an incident report. Improper reporting will fail to mitigate potential hazards. 

Importance of a detailed and accurately filled incident report

Discourages inappropriate actions

Let us take a scenario where a cleaning staff was not wearing proper shoes meant for wearing in the kitchen. His work involves movement between dry and wet areas. He had a fall and sprained his ankle as was wearing slippers instead of the proper grip shoes provided to him. By reporting this incident two things happen:

  • You know what corrective actions to take.
  • Second, other employees understand the importance of wearing the right shoes to work.

Creates awareness

An incident report identifies and lists down potential hazards in the working environment. This creates awareness at both the employee and organizational level. It also encourages putting corrective measures in place and mitigating such hazards in the future.

Improves safety procedures

As an organization a good incident report gives you a clear understanding of areas that need to be improved to make the workplace more secure. It could highlight the need of getting your staff trained on safety programs, getting better quality safety equipment etc.

Why an incident report template?

  • An incident report template comes with predefined columns on all the important information that needs to be captured. 
  • Forms are easy to fill and capture the information in a more accurate manner. They are also helpful in generating reports and trends.
  • If you are writing an incident report for the first time, a template helps you understand what questions to ask. How to proceed with the investigation?
  • The template is usually a mix of questions which can be answered in yes/no and descriptive answers.
  • If you have to take inputs from multiple people, you can extract the responses from all the forms on an excel sheet and analyze and investigate the data.

To summarize, a good incident report should include:

  • Nature of the incident
  • Date and time
  • Names of the people involved, their role in the organization
  • Detailed description of events in a sequential manner
  • Statements of those impacted and the witnesses
  • Details of medical treatment, if any
  • Photos or videos of the event

There are many templates available to assist you write an effective and accurate incident report. However, it is important that you take immediate action when an incident occurs, start writing your report at the earliest, make a note of every minute detail in your report, do not get into the emotional trap of right or wrong, avoid being judgemental and taking sides. Stick to the questions for recording accurate information. Most important, STAY SAFE.