Process Improvement

How to get better data in your employee incident report

How to get better data in your employee incident report
Tor Christensen
By on 30/09/2022

Incidents come in many different shapes. Maybe you experience an unexpected event or you almost had an accident. The logical thing is to fix it and remember it for the next time you might encounter it. But your newfound knowledge is rarely enough – you need to report the incident and share your knowledge to ensure that everyone act according to latest best practice.
That way you will improve the entire company rather than just your own knowledge.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

This article is about ensuring the best possible data-material for further analysis. Ensure that your incident response team quickly can mitigate and prevent similar incidents or accidents. In this blog post we will go through, how you should approach incident reporting to achieve success.

The overall goal is twofold: 1) All incidents (and adverse events) must be reported, and 2) to get all the available data and knowledge into each report.

Estimates show that in high-income countries, as many as 1 in 10 patients are further injured while receiving hospital care. The damage can be caused by a number of different adverse events, but common to them is that approximately 50% of them are preventable.

WHO

Reporting an incident at work – From hassle to valuable knowledge

There are a lot of reasons not to report an incident. Let’s look at some of the problems and solutions with lacking reports or missing data.

Zero defects culture

Many companies adheres to a “zero defects”- culture, where quality spawns from prevention. We should all should strive for the perfect world, but reality is sometimes messy. The “zero defects” is a great approach to operation and production, but the concept has entered business areas where development happens through innovation. In these areas mistakes will be made (and corrected) along the way.

Do you want to be the one that didn’t prevent an adverse situation? Even outside of Production?

The first problem with lack of reporting is your own organisation: If you want incident reports, it should be ok to report them.

No coherent place to report incidents

Maybe there is no place to report incident. Or maybe you have 20? Either way it is going to be confusing to report anything. More confusion leads to less reports.

Make sure that you only have one place to report.
It is much easier to communicate, remember and use.

No clear description on how to report incidents correctly

Without a description of what you want, it is likely that the data quality you get is pretty horrendous. There is also a chance that people stop halfway through if the instructions are unclear.

Please describe how you want the reporting done. It can be very simple to add a description of how you prefer the input. Give exampels of what you want and make the instruction short and to the point.

Make incident reporting easy and intuitive 

By addressing the above you will improve the data quality from incident reports.
It should be easy and intuitive to report an incident shortly after it has happened. Otherwise, you will not accumulate the knowledge to prevent the same incident from happening again.

How to get better data in your employee incident report
Easy reporting is the foundation for an streamlined business

Fortunately, most people react based on common sense and gut feeling and want to prevent an accident immediately. But to learn from the experiences of others, incident reports are a way to get an overview of and improve the company’s processes. 


Create an incident reporting system, where employees can easily report data and everyone will know who is doing what and why. You get help along the way how to fulfil your tasks in the reporting process, and the distribution of tasks and responsibilities are visible to everyone. Create a step-by-step guide that allows you to record enough data to understand the adverse event and evaluate, so you can avoid the same thing happening again.

With a digital report process you get:

  • Better data for your response team
  • More reporting
  • Better corrective actions
  • Less major incidents or accidents
  • A reporting process gives your a foundation to improve upon

Feedback gets everyone involved

With an incident reporting process, you get everybody involved in the safety, quality or work environment of the company. In the incident reporting system you set up tasks that take you step-by-step through the process. In this way you ensure the reporting is carried out. You value the collected information and give feedback, you inform stakeholders, form an incident prevention team that can analyse the incident and come up with a plan for handling the incident.

As you can see there are multiple reasons for making your incident reporting easy. You can read more in our blogpost How to set up an incident management system.

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