WHS Incident Reports – Everything You Need To Know

Incidents that compromise the safety of workers can happen in any business, regardless of its size, location or industry. When an incident does occur it’s important to have it reported formally. Reporting an incident is the first step in the incident management process. The simple rationale is that if you do not know an incident has occurred, then how will you address the potential hazards in your workplace and develop safer procedures for the future.

With thousands of WHS incidents occurring every year, organisations find it a challenge to generate these ‘Incident Reports’. Incident reports can be triggered in a variety of different ways. An employee or their manager may report the incident, a customer or support call may trigger one, or some companies may even have automated detection systems. Incident reports can be paper based, filed manually in a physical location, though in recent years there has been a move to cloud based online platforms.

What is a WHS Incident Report?

An WHS incident report is an official document, generally developed as a form, to record the key details of an incident in the workplace. Incidents can take many shapes from property damage, theft or security-related issues, accidents, injuries as well as ‘near misses’.

The aim of an incident report is to record the basic information surrounding the incident. Information recorded should include: 

  • A brief description of the incident
  • When did the incident occur?
  • Who were the parties involved?
  • Where did it happen?
  • What was the incident type? (e.g. fall from height, traffic etc.)
  • Was anyone injured?
  • What were the injuries sustained?

An important aspect of the report is to categorise the incident in terms of its severity. This is usually done by an Incident Severity Matrix that should be embedded in the incident report, where the incident may be categorised as ISL (Incident Severity Level) 1,2,3 or 4. ISL 1 being the most severe. This is critically important as the rigour of investigations to be carried out (as the next step in the incident management process) will be dependent on the severity level of the incident. 

Why are WHS incident reports so important?

As stated before incident reports are the important initial step in the incident management process. The report provides all the salient details that will be required to initiate an investigation. The rigour of the incident investigation process will be dependent on the ISL of the incident and the methodology used by individual organisations (e.g. fault tree analysis, ICAM etc.).

It is important to note that there are legal requirements for reporting incidents: 

  • Relevant Authorities

 Notifiable incidents. A “notifiable incident” results in the death, serious injury or illness of a person or involves a dangerous incident out of the conduct of a business or undertaking at a workplace and relates to any person – whether an employees, contractor or member of the public. 

  • Insurance Companies

Reporting of claimable incidents to insurance companies may require more details and more often than not these incidents will be reported using the particular insurance companies report forms.

How to create an incident report?

Due to the potentially large number of incidents that need to be recorded, an initial report should include the basic details of the incident. The report should be a simple form that can be completed very quickly and easily by anyone. Incident reports recorded and filed on paper can prove to be cumbersome and difficult to manage. Smart forms using an online platform offer many advantages. Recording incidents digitally in real time, using mobile devices is more efficient and secure.

What can Conserve do to help?

Conserve’s online contractor risk management software provides a platform to record incident reports digitally in the first instance. The platform allows for the categorisation (ISL 1 – 4) of incidents. Once this first important step in the incident management process is carried out where all incidents are recorded, the client can then focus on the high severity incidents, carry out investigations to the rigour required and properly assess the risks and develop safer procedures for the future.

Contact Conserve today to learn more about how we can help with incident reporting.

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