Accidents and incidents are, unfortunately, relatively common in the workplace, regardless of the industry. From minor workplace incidents to more serious injuries in the workplace, being able to handle these occurrences is crucial. For this reason, it’s important to create an HR incident report template. With this document, events can be documented and investigated where necessary.
Prior to creating this report, it is vital that human resources and health and safety managers understand what’s entailed, which information should be gathered, and what the different safety categories are.
What is an example of an Incident and when would you report it?
A workplace incident is any event that exposes employees or customers to serious risks. First and foremost, it is important to distinguish between an incident and an accident:
- An incident is an unexpected event that hasn’t caused personal injury, but which may have resulted in damage to company property and which could potentially have caused serious injury, incapacity or death. Often referred to as “an accident waiting to happen”, this category generally tends to include near misses, dangerous occurrences, and events that cause significant risk to employees. These incidents can cause disruption or interference to an organization and may impact systems and operations.
- An accident is an event that leads to physical or mental occupational injury or death and occurs during work hours. They generally arise as an effect of failing to duly investigate prior incidents.
There are various types of incidents that could arise in the workplace that would call for an incident report:
Types of HR Incident Report Situations
Near miss: an event that doesn’t result in injury, but which had the potential to cause harm. These may include things such as an employee tripping over loose cables or the use of inadequate personal protective equipment.
Dangerous occurrence: a set of circumstances that could potentially cause injury, such as the failure of load-bearing equipment in a manufacturing facility.
Occupational diseases: a repetitive action or environmental risk which could potentially result in personal injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or occupational asthma.
Security incident: an event that may indicate that an organization’s data has been compromised. A security incident could also mean that preventative measures have been breached, such as evidence of hacking or a computer virus.
Safety or hazard observation: an incident where no injury has been sustained but a hazard, such as untidy working areas or defective equipment, has been observed with the potential for causing injury.
Property damage: an event that caused damage to company property which had the potential to also cause personal injury. Examples may include damage caused by moving, flying or falling objects.
Workplace misconduct: failure to adhere to company rules and policies, such as neglecting to follow recommended instructions for heavy machinery or a breach of health and safety guidelines.
No harm events: minor incidents that need to be investigated and communicated to employees to raise awareness of any potential risk.
What to know about HR Incident Reports
Why Do I Need to Complete an Incident Report and When Should it be Completed?
HR incident reporting is an important safety tool that you can use to investigate the root cause of incidents. Its purpose is also to create corrective actions that eliminate the risk of future occurrences. An incident report can be used by an employee to report an event they have witnessed or to raise awareness of a potential risk that has been observed.
An HR incident report can help with risk assessment. The more incidents reported, the more data the health and safety department has to analyze. These reports can help identify weak areas in a company where a lack of knowledge or training exists. In addition, it can also highlight where there are inadequate work standards or maintenance issues. All of the above are essential in identifying quickly so you can mitigate the possible health and safety risks to your employees.
The aim of an incident report is to identify potential root causes and implement preventative measures to reduce the risk of an accident occurring. It also serves to improve communication within a company. Lastly, it helps educate staff to adhere to best practices, both for the good of their own safety and for the company as a whole.
What Do I Write in an HR Incident Report Template?
The human resources department is responsible for creating an incident report template and making it available to all staff. The form should ask the right questions so that all essential information about the incident can be gathered and employees are aware of what information they should have.
An incident report form should include:
- An accurate description of the event that occurred. Descriptions should be clear and specific and include factual, objective statements.
- Both sides of the story and witness statements where appropriate.
- All key elements and essential questions (what, where, when, why and how).
- Photos, diagrams and illustrations as supporting evidence, where relevant.
What else to include in an HR incident report
An HR accident report must gather a range of data for analysis. Questions should be quantitative (referring to lost working hours/days, incident costs, etc.) and qualitative (referring to severity, potential injury, etc.) and they should help encourage employees to be as brief and specific as possible.
Incidents should be categorized by type (security incident, occupational hazard, near miss, etc.) as this helps to build statistics that help with analysis. Full descriptions of circumstances leading up to the incident should be requested; the more specific, the better. Questions should aim to discover the root cause, as well as focus on follow-up and preventative measures.
Data to include in an HR incident form:
- Date and time the incident occurred
- Location within the premises
- A concise and comprehensive description of the incident
- Consequences of the incident
- Root cause
- The likelihood that the event will occur again
- Pictures of the area and any resulting damage
- Lessons learned
- Suggested risk control measures
- Contact details of all involved parties
Keep Your Incident Reports Simple
The most important aspect of building an HR incident report template is to keep it simple. If a form is too long or complicated, employees will be put off reporting their observations. When this is the case, employees tend to only report severe incidents.
By implementing a simple template for HR incident reports and employee reporting policy you can encourage employees to maintain consistent records of all their findings. Also, by simplifying employees tend to take reasonable steps and work together to reduce workplace injuries and the risk of workplace accidents. All of these actions result in a safer environment, improved staff morale, and increased productivity.
Written by Cat Symonds; Edited by Tanya Lesiuk