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How to get better data in your employee incident report

Blog / Quality management (QHSE)

Improving Employee Incident Reports for Better Data

Tor Christensen
By
Last updated on 08/01/2024

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Incidents come in various forms, from unexpected events to near accidents. When these situations arise, it’s key to address them properly using the best possible incident report format.

This article focuses on incident report formats that ensure better data for analysis, helping incident response teams mitigate and prevent similar occurrences.

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Truman Capote

Incident reports are part of incident management. Learn Why Every Company Needs an Incident Management System ↗️

Why Proper Incident Reporting Is Important

Studies by WHO indicate that in high-income countries, up to 1 in 10 patients suffer further injuries during hospital care, with roughly 50% of these incidents being preventable.

We see the problem with preventable incidents everywhere, so it is not limited to people-reated accidents but also to other areas such as cyber-security, where preventable human errors are behind many major incidents.

Our main goals are therefore twofold:

  1. Report All Incidents: Every incident or adverse event should be reported, without exception.
  2. Gather Comprehensive Data: Ensure that every report includes all available data and knowledge.

Common Issues with Incident Reporting

Zero Defects Culture: Many companies prioritize a “zero defects” culture, emphasizing quality through prevention. While this approach is valuable, it may not suit fields where innovation and development involve trial and error. It’s crucial to understand that mistakes can lead to improvement, even outside of production.

Reluctance to Report: One major issue is a reluctance to report incidents. Encouraging reporting within your organization is essential if you want to receive incident reports.

Lack of a Central Reporting Hub: Reporting can be hard if there isn’t a single place to submit incidents. Streamlining reporting prevents confusion.

Unclear Reporting Instructions: Without clear instructions, the quality of incident reports can suffer. To improve this, provide simple guides and examples for reporting.

To enhance the quality of incident reports, make reporting incidents easy. Quick reporting after an incident is key to collect knowledge for prevention.

Key Steps to Better Employee Incident Reporting

  1. Establish an Incident Reporting System: Create a centralized system where employees can easily report incidents, ensuring clarity and transparency in the process.
  2. Provide Guidance: Offer a step-by-step guide to gather sufficient data for understanding adverse events and implementing preventive measures.
  3. Digital Reporting: Implement a digital reporting process to enhance data quality, increase reporting, and facilitate better corrective actions, ultimately reducing major incidents or accidents.
  4. Feedback and Involvement: Engage everyone in the safety, quality, or work environment of the company through the incident reporting process. Establish tasks and responsibilities, value collected information, inform stakeholders, and form incident prevention teams for analysis and action plans.

In conclusion, simplifying and optimizing incident reporting is crucial for improving data quality and preventing future incidents. By making reporting easy and involving all stakeholders, you can create a culture of safety and continuous improvement within your organization.

Three incident report format examples

Here are three examples of good incident report formats that can be used for different types of incidents:

The Basic Option

  • Title: Incident Report
  • Date and Time of Incident:
  • Location of Incident:
  • Description of Incident: Provide a detailed description of what happened, including who was involved, what actions were taken, and any equipment or resources used.
  • Witnesses: List any witnesses to the incident, including their names and contact information.
  • Injuries or Damage: Describe any injuries sustained or damage caused as a result of the incident.
  • Immediate Actions Taken: Explain any immediate actions taken to address the situation or provide assistance.
  • Recommendations: Suggest any recommendations for preventing similar incidents in the future.
  • Signature: Include a space for the person reporting the incident to sign and date the report.

Medical incidents

  • Title: Medical Incident Report
  • Patient Information: Include the patient’s name, age, gender, and any relevant medical history.
  • Date and Time of Incident:
  • Location of Incident:
  • Description of Incident: Provide a detailed account of the medical incident, including symptoms, treatments administered, and any adverse reactions.
  • Vital Signs: Record the patient’s vital signs before and after the incident (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate).
  • Medications and Dosages: List any medications administered and their dosages.
  • Witnesses: Include witness statements and contact information.
  • Outcome: Describe the patient’s condition after the incident and any follow-up actions required.
  • Signature: Provide space for the healthcare provider and patient (if applicable) to sign and date the report.

Workplace safety incidents

  • Title: Workplace Safety Incident Report
  • Date and Time of Incident:
  • Location of Incident:
  • Employee Information: Include the name, job title, and department of the involved employees.
  • Description of Incident: Provide a thorough account of the safety incident, including the sequence of events, any equipment involved, and environmental conditions.
  • Injuries or Property Damage: Specify any injuries sustained or damage to property.
  • Safety Equipment: Indicate whether appropriate safety equipment (e.g., personal protective equipment) was used.
  • Root Causes: Analyze the underlying causes of the incident and identify contributing factors.
  • Corrective Actions: Describe the actions taken to address the immediate situation and prevent future occurrences.
  • Witness Statements: Include statements from witnesses, if available.
  • Supervisor’s Review: Have a supervisor or manager review and sign off on the report.
  • Signature: Include spaces for the employee reporting the incident, the supervisor, and any other relevant personnel to sign and date the report.

These are just a few examples of incident report formats. The specific format used can vary depending on the organization’s needs, industry, and regulatory requirements. It’s essential to tailor the format to the type of incident being reported and ensure that all necessary information is captured accurately.

A fun exercise about a serious topic: Try filling in workplace safety incident reports for the following incidents, then do an incident root cause analysis afterwards. ⬇️

Conclusions

In conclusion, proper incident reporting is essential to prevent preventable incidents in various fields, including healthcare and cybersecurity. Overcoming common issues like reluctance to report and unclear instructions is crucial. Establishing a robust incident reporting system, providing guidance, using digital reporting, and involving all stakeholders are key steps to improving incident reporting. Simplifying and optimizing the process fosters a culture of safety and continuous improvement within organizations.

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