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Incident Reports: Why You Should Draft One

businessman creating a report

Please note that we have updated this blog post! Take a look at the current version here. 

Incident reports are one of the most important forms of documentation for a corporation to employ in their day to day operations for a multitude of reasons. Whether reporting an instance of employee injury, property damage, improper conduct, or other reasons, it is increasingly important for a corporation to keep an incident report template on hand in case it is ever needed.

Avoiding unnecessary settlements

Let’s face it, civil lawsuits are easier to win for the filer than their criminal counterparts and require a substantially smaller burden of proof in order to be successfully won. With that in mind, documenting every instance of an incident allows a corporation to not only keep verifiable records of incidents but also track patterns or anomalies.

By filling out and filing incident reports, a company can protect themselves from undue lawsuits that without the presence of an incident report would be more likely to end in arbitration or a settlement.

Generally a company will settle a frivolous lawsuit as opposed to fighting it if they feel as if the amount of time and money that needs to be put forth is more than the settlement itself but if you have ironclad proof of malicious intent, fallibility on the part of the pursuing party, or inconsistencies within the pursuers testimony or account of things.

Avoiding unnecessary fines and claims

Incident reports can proactively prevent undue fines from organizations like OSHA as well as prevent unnecessary worker’s compensation claims. If an employee injures themselves on the job, you will have traceable data to substantiate their claims or refute them as well as gauge the seriousness of the injury per the employee’s own statement.

Furthermore, if you institute incident reporting and an employee fails to file the necessary paperwork or documentation, this can lead to an easy dismissal of claim, which will save a company time and money and keep the legal department from spending long nights with headaches.

Things to keep in mind for your own template

When drafting an incident report template, there are a few things which need to be present in order to make the process as efficient and valuable as possible.

For instance, there should be room for the reporting individual to document the full date and time. This creates a time line and time table that could potentially come in handy for the company at a later date.

Also, the exact location where the incident occurred, the names of all involved parties and the extent of damage or injury should all be documented on the incident report as well. There should be a place for witness testimony as well as for signatures of the involved party for liability reasons.

Documenting all of the above helps clarify all facts and points of an incident and allows for efficient record keeping and future fact checking as well.

All in all, an incident report document, procedure and template are all necessary tools for any company to employ as they allow for verifiable record keeping as well as help ascertain liability. If you do not have an incident report template, it is imperative that you draft one immediately as it could potentially save your company countless dollars as well as provide protection against frivolous lawsuits. 

A sample incident report form can be found here.

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