What happens when an incident occurs in your organization? Will all the relevant details be recorded, ensuring that you will have this information on hand when it’s needed in the future? Whether reporting an employee or customer injury, a defective product, property damage, or any other type of incident, it is extremely important for an organization to be able to easily and efficiently create reports. We've discussed the benefits, but what should actually be included in these incident reports?
The amount of detail that goes into incident reporting in your organization really depends on your organization: its size, claim frequency, and so on. Smartsheet has some excellent free templates that can give you an idea of the layout. However, there are some basic guidelines for what should be included in any report, such as:
1. The time and date the incident occurred
This is one of the most important details to include, as insurance providers, managers, and others will need to know when the incident happened. It's easy to forget specific details after weeks or months have passed, so don't assume you will remember this information.
2. Where the incident occurred
Be as specific as possible: state the address of the location as well as the specific area within the building or property.
3. A concise but complete description of the incident
Make sure you are clear and objective: don’t use vague language and never lie about something that happened, even if it might put you or your employer in a negative light. Putting false information in an incident report will only cause more damage later if it is proven to be untrue. Include details about what happened before the incident, the incident itself, and actions that were taken immediately after. If you are writing down your opinion of what caused the incident or what you think happened, be sure to note that it is an assumption.
4. A description of the damages that resulted
Physical injuries will have to be assessed by a medical professional and added to the report later. However, a brief summary of how severe or minor damages appear to be can be useful to note at the time of the incident. Any relevant property damage can also be summarized.
5. The names and contact information of all involved parties and any witnesses
This must be collected in case your insurance provider or a representative of your organization needs to follow up. If possible, include testimonies from these as well, since having more than one perspective on an incident can help you understand the root cause.
6. Pictures of the area where the incident occurred and any property damage
This physical evidence can prove whether there were any hazards present that caused the incident and show the true severity of damages that resulted from it.
7. Video surveillance footage of the incident, if available
This can support your case by proving that you were not fully liable for what occurred. It can also help your insurance provider and company management understand exactly what occurred and how to prevent similar incidents in the future.
8. Risk mitigation tactics that were used to try to prevent the incident
Record any prevention strategies that are already part of the organization’s policy and procedures. For example, if a customer slipped, include a logbook that shows employees undertook hourly floor inspections to lessen the risk of somebody falling. If the victim makes a case against you in the future, you can use this information to reduce your liability.
Documenting all the above information every time an incident occurs may time-consuming, but it will help your case if the incident turns into a claim. Without a detailed incident report, it will be impossible to protect yourself from legal liability or adequately explain to other members of your organization how the damages occurred. In addition, if you keep careful track of your incidents you can group them by location, time of day or year, employee, and so on. Incidents are the number one predictor of claims. For example, if ten people slip and fall in the same area, it’s only a matter of time before a fall results in a claim. Incident reporting allows you to identify problem areas and trends within your organization, brainstorm ways to tackle issues, and save claim costs by implementing preventative measures that stop repetitive losses.
ClearRisk’s Risk Management Information System does an excellent job of storing and organizing this kind of information. Want more information?
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