Incident report template: A very useful form for every business. An incident report is a form that needs to be filled out with facts about an occurrence, regardless if it has caused an injury or not. An incident report could also be written about a hazard or potential hazard in the workplace. There are many details that are included within the report and an incident report template is very beneficial as it gives a good place to start.
The form should be completed soon after an incident occurs. Even if the event is seen as minor by those involved, an incident report should still be filed. Something that is deemed as minor could have an impact in the long term, for example, a small injury that could affect an employee’s ability to work in the future. In the event of an emergency, the incident report template should be filled out within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the nature of the emergency.
Why are incident reports important?
Incident reports could flag an unnoticed issue in the workplace environment. Sharp edges, unorganised wires, unmaintained equipment and other items or activities that are seen as harmless could pose a danger. By reporting an accident, a near miss or a hazard, future incidents can be avoided. An investigation needs to follow to find out how and why the event occurred. This will help in raising awareness about potential risks and improving workplace safety.
Why is an incident report template important?
An unplanned event can cause a lot of chaos, uncertainty and confusion. There might be a lot of information, different people involved and there are some essential details that need to be included in the report. An incident report template allows workers to fill out the form with all the information required. It acts as a ‘to do list’. It gives them a place to start and there can be different templates depending on the issue.
There may be varying incident report templates to account for the different types of incidents that could occur. For example, a near miss incident report template might not be the same as one for an accident that causes injury. The facts in each report might slightly differ, but they are all written with the purpose of protecting employees. A template needs to be prepared in advance, not after the incident has taken place.
What needs to be included in an incident report template?
There are quite a few things that need to be recorded.
-Type of incident (Near miss, accident etc.)
-Personal details of the affected individual(s). This includes full name, home address, contact number
-Position of the individual(s). They could be an employee, contractor, visitor etc.
-Date, place and time of the incident
-A comprehensive recount of the incident. This should also include damage caused to those involved and property as well as details of the actions taken by every individual involved..
-Witness statements and their names if the event was observed by bystanders
How should an incident report template be completed?
There is a lot of relevant information that should be included in the report. It is crucial to note how this information should be added to the template. Some things to remember are:
- Thorough description
- Objective recounts
- Accurate witness statements
- Types of evidence
A good incident report template should encourage the writers to provide a lot of detail regarding the incident. An exhaustive recap is essential for managers and owners to understand what unfolded. Especially if there is an injury or a hazard involved, the description needs to be precise. When writing precisely what occurred, no information is “too much”. Every little detail is necessary to ensure an accurate recollection of the incident and a safer workplace.
When describing the environment, the damages and when giving witness statements, no emotions should be recorded. The incident report needs to state explicitly what happened without taking into account the feelings of those involved. Emotions could complicate the situation by providing a false picture of the incident. Witnesses should also focus on being objective rather than creating bias.
Accurate witness statements
If the event was observed by a bystander, then the bystander needs to contribute to the incident report by giving their point of view of the incident. Their responsibility is to provide accurate and clear information, not opinions or vague statements. Their statement is crucial in reinforcing the gravity of the occurrence and can help in providing corrective action. If the witness is not personally completing a report then the witness statements should be quoted and the reporter should refrain from using their own words.
Types of evidence
Evidence can support the investigation by confirming the facts in the incident report and highlighting how the incident occurred. In addition to witness statements, employees could provide photos or CCTV footage if there are cameras in the area. That is why recording the time and date of the incident is essential. Photos could show the damage to property and any injuries inflicted on the individual. The CCTV could include the whole accident happening on camera or how a hazard could pose a potential danger to those working within the space.
A general incident report template is the best option as it can be created to fit any event. It makes situations simpler and removes the need for having multiple documents for the same purpose. Incident reports are easy to create. The template should emphasise the four points above and include space for all the required details. It makes the investigation easier the more specific the information is.
Police should be notified in the case of an emergency and if they are notified it would be a good idea to include this in the report. An ambulance might be needed to treat any serious injuries. The Work Health and Safety regulator should be the first person contacted if the incident is not as urgent. If one is not available then the next person of contact should be the manager or owner.
This Incident report template is an example of what an incident report template should look like. A business can choose to make changes and add more elements to it if they deem it necessary.
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