How incident reports help to prevent accidents

February 5, 2020

Accidents and incidents are not the same. An accident results in personal injury or property damage, while an incident in the workplace is an unplanned event that doesn’t result in injury, but does cause damage to property, or has enough significant risk to merit recording.

The goal at every workplace should be that an incident does not become an accident. Reporting is an effective way of preventing further incidents, and to help prepare countermeasures and responses, should the worst happen.

An incident report is a formal recording of the facts related to an incident and should be completed as soon as possible following the incident or injury. Any incident that involves worker safety should be recorded, no matter how insignificant it may seem. The report should include:

  • The location of the incident
  • A list of witnesses to the incident or injury
  • The severity of the injury
  • A description of the immediate measures taken in response to the incident
  • Any anomalies that might have contributed to the incident
  • Photo or video documentation of the event or its aftermath can also be included

The following elements help to create a factual report:

  • Specific details and description. The more specific the incident report, the more useful it will be when making corrective decisions.
  • Facts only. Opinions are not relevant.
  • Objective tone. There’s no place for anger, sadness or fear in the incident report. The key is to write accurately and professionally, with no emotions in the way of objectivity.
  • Accuracy. Every detail has to be confirmed. 
  • Supervisor signoff. Once an incident report is completed, the supervisor who was on duty during the incident should sign it.

Accidents or incidents can happen in any work environment. Some of the most common types of workplace accidents and injuries that occur include:

  • Trips over wires
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Slip and falls
  • Muscle strains
  • Back injuries
  • Ladder accidents
  • Injuries from falling objects

The safety of your staff and the security of company property is a top priority. To learn more about incident reports and security on business and industrial facilities, contact Vanguard Resources.