The purpose of an incident report is to document details of the incident or accident as soon as possible after it happens. Time is of the essence, as at least one party must remember details so the report is as accurate as possible.
Sometimes, an incident report is used for a “near miss.” This is an event that could have ended in injury, such as a fire in the break room, but did not. These reports can help prevent such accidents in the future by guiding you, as the business owner, or human resources, to update the employee handbook, implement better safety features, upgrade existing safety features, or make necessary changes to ensure the safety of your employees. Plus, having a record of the incident might be evidence in court in the event that a current or former employee sues because of safety issues. Your record can show that you took interest in the health and safety of your employees and addressed the issue to the best of your ability.
When Should I Use an Incident Report
When employees are injured, the incident report can help track their injuries to determine if they are getting better or worse over time. Initially reported injuries such as whiplash, burns, or psychological damages from harassment might seem minor at the time, but could become worse over months or years. The incident report can help you, as the employer, track whether or not the employee is now or did in the past receive treatment, and when the problem first started. This could be important for workers compensation claims later.
Incident reports help you, as an employer, track on-the-job problems and work on solutions. They prove that you take interest in keeping your employees safe, and provide written evidence of statements made by yourself and your employee(s) when the incident started.
How To Write an Incident Report
1. You must obtain proper forms. You can start by downloading our free incident report forms.
2. Make sure the employee starts the incident report as soon as possible after the incident. You may have to wait for them to physically heal, however.
3. Make sure the employee provides basic facts, such as time and date of the incident, and location. Make sure they include their name, and the names of other employees who may have been present.
4. Have them write a first-person narrative of what happened. Details may be important later.
5. Take statements from witnesses to include in the overall incident report.
6. Make a statement yourself regarding your relationship to the incident, and the victim.
7. Be accurate and truthful in your statements. Do not make statements when you do not remember something, although you can state “I don’t remember.”
Our free incident report form can help you get started, especially if you are a small business with your first employees. However, if you have questions regarding worker safety, check your local laws and consider consulting an attorney.