Published 06/08/2024

Incident Reporting is the process of capturing, recording and managing an incident occurrence such as in injury, property damage or security incident.

It typically involves completing an incident report form when an incident occurrence has happened and following it up with additional incident follow on forms such as an investigation, corrective action, hazard report and sign off. These follow on forms ensure that the incident occurrence causes are investigated to potentially mitigate and aim to prevent the same type of incident from happening again. This might involve discovering hazards in the workplace or implementing new risk management or training processes to help staff understand the root causes of what happened in order to prevent it from happening again.

An Incident Report form might be completed by the staff involved in the incident that occurred or it might be completed by a safety manager on their behalf. See more on how to write an incident report.

Incident reporting is the process of recording worksite events, including near misses, injuries, and accidents. It entails documenting all the facts related to incidents in the workplace. Incidents are generally accidents or events that cause injuries to workers or damages to property or equipment. Additionally, incidents also cover near misses-events that have enough potential to cause harm.

Why do we need Incident Reporting

Incidents of all sorts and sizes occur, from property damage in the workplace, to accidents, injuries or illnesses. It's critical that in all workplaces staff are empowered to report incidents that happen using an incident report form. when staff report incidents, they are directly contributing to potentially preventing a future incident from happening again. It allows the organisation to properly investigate and establish checks, procedures and implement risk controls in response to what has happened.

What happens when you don't report incidents?

If you don't report incidents that happen, the same type of incident might happen again. The opportunity to analyse what happened, how, why, what could have stopped it and the root causes and factors involved are all lost if the full details of the incident are not recorded. No matter how small an incident is, everything should be reported. The small stuff can prevent the big stuff from happening!

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Importance of Incident Reporting

Generally, an incident report is a necessary process for the success of any organization's health and safety programs. The management should ensure that every worker knows how to compile and submit an incident report form. Every workplace incident should be reported with immediate effect.

The significant benefits of incident reporting include:

- It prevents severe accidents when safety issues are identified and fixed before they become more significant problems.
- It saves time and resources that could otherwise be spent dealing with more severe accidents.
- Boosts the overall well-being of every worker in the organization
- Protects the organization against non-compliance issues associated with health and safety regulations
- Reporting incidents helps the organization to keep track of the trends, patterns and discover anomalies.
- Improves other health and safety measures in the worksite, such as reporting potential hazards and risk assessments.
- Creates a robust health and safety culture in the organization
- It helps the management know the significant problems in the workplace and develop improved processes and safe procedures for workers.

Incident reports should be completed immediately after a near miss, unexpected, awareness, or adverse events have occurred. This ensures that the involved individuals or witnesses can recall the details of the occurrence with clarity to fill the report form accurately. Additionally, employers may also implement a specific incident reporting time frame in the overall safety management procedures to be adhered to by all staff.

Creating a culture of reporting in the workplace helps ensure incidents, near misses and other safety incidents are reported by all staff which helps keep the workplace safe allowing safety teams to action and hopefully prevent the same types of incidents from happening again in the future.

An Incident Reporting system helps ensure all staff, including contractors and visitors, can report incidents when things go wrong in the workplace. Discover our Incident Reporting platform

Managing Incident Reports

Some of the steps to consider when setting up your incident reporting workflows and management steps:

- Create a database or spreadsheet to store incident reports: This will allow you to store and manage incident reports in a secure, organized manner.

- Establish a process for collecting incident reports: Establish a clear process for how to document and report incidents.

- Train staff on incident reporting: Educate staff on incident reporting procedures, as well as how to use the database or spreadsheet.

- Monitor and analyze incident reports: Regularly review incident reports and look for patterns that could indicate underlying issues or potential risks.

- Take action to address any issues: Use the data to inform decisions and take appropriate action to address any identified issues.

This process helps to ensure that all incidents are managed in a consistent and timely manner. Incident management typically involves the coordination of an organization's staff, resources, and operations to ensure that any incident is quickly identified, investigated, and resolved.

Safety Incident Reporting

Safety incident reports one of the most common type of incident reports where the incident concerns an injury or illness or accident. For example a near miss or employee injury in the workplace and reporting what happened, how it happened and often followed up with an investigation and how the organisation can prevent this incident from happening again.


- Injury in the workplace
- Illness report
- Near miss or close call
- Safety observation
- Lost time injury
- Medical treatment only incident
- First aid report

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Case: An Example in the Workplace where an Incident Report Form is Completed

Imagine the scene. You're in a workplace and an employee has just had a serious accident. It's catastrophic for all involved, especially for the injured party and their family. Naturally, this sort of incident needs to be documented and dealt with properly. That's why it's important to understand when an incident report form should be completed in the workplace.

An incident report form is used to provide a comprehensive record of any unwelcome or undesirable occurrence that occurs within the workplace environment. This includes such things as workplace accidents, hazardous material spills, safety violations or misconduct by employees. In most cases, these forms are filled out immediately after the incident has occurred and contain detailed information about what happened, when it happened and who was involved.

The actual form itself can vary greatly depending on the type of workplace it is being used in. Generally though, they include basic information such as date and time of the event along with contact details for witnesses or those affected by the incident. The specifics depend on each individual situation but more often than not, additional questions concerning potential causes of the event may also be included in order to help prevent similar incidents from happening again in future.

For example, if an employee suffered a slip-and-fall injury while working on factory premises then an incident report form would need to be completed detailing all relevant information such as date and time of accident, description of how it happened and any contributing factors identified as part of an investigation into what caused it to happen in the first place. This will then help ensure proper compensation for any injury sustained whilst also helping employers improve safety within their organizations going forward.

In short then, understanding when an incident report form should be completed in the workplace is key to ensuring legal compliance regarding safety incidents as well as developing strategies to minimize potential risks involving personnel or property moving forward. Filling out these forms correctly could potentially save lives down the track so make sure you're familiar with them if you haven't already done so!

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Written by:

Dr Jeremy Nunn


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