“Write everything down. It doesn’t matter what it is. Write it down.”
When you find yourself in a situation where something unexplainable occurs, or a potential hazard presents itself, the typical response is to either forget about it and figure out how to get around the problem later on, or worse yet – do nothing at all. Writing certain information down, however, will give you an extremely valuable reference should something occur later that would warrant further investigation into your actions leading up to that event. Therefore, the following five rules serve as a good guideline for any type of report writing, especially for a workplace incident report:
1) Be Concise
The key in incident reports is brevity. Don’t just provide the basic facts of the incident unless there’s no way around retelling them. Make it your goal to include all pertinent details to the incident, but no more than necessary. For example, if you’re writing about a hallway flooding near the break room area, make sure anyone reading this report will need no other information aside from how many feet of water were in the room and whether or not there’s any potential cause for concern – which you can discuss further in paragraph three (3).
2) Write Legibly
This is something I tend to forget myself when it comes time to writing reports. Suppose anyone should have an issue reading what you’ve written down. In that case, they could become confused by what you’re trying to communicate entirely. So do yourself a favor and don’t be lazy here – use sharp pencils or pens to write clearly, especially with incident reports.
3) Make Sure to Reference Important Details in Paragraph 3 of Your Report
This is the conclusion of your writing, but it should serve to be used only as a summary for all other paragraphs preceding it. This is also where you can include any notes or concerns related to the incident that wasn’t covered in previous sections. In addition, it’s helpful if you refer to incident report templates for reference.
Using “Attachment 1” and “Attachment 2” are recommended for any additional images or information that may be viewed later by anyone interested in looking into this further – which leads us onto our next section…
4) Add Relevant Attachments If Necessary
An image would likely serve best here, though if need be, make sure you convert them over to jpg/png format beforehand, so they load properly. Try to keep the file size as small as possible, and mentioning this in your paragraph is also a good idea so that someone reading this report, later on, knows what they’re getting into before it even loads.
See below writing of incident report template as an example:
“The hallway flooding outside of the breakroom was due to a pipe burst from main water line D15-B3 according to our facility map. I’ve included two images here for visual reference – one taken from the opposite side of the hall showing how wide it spread, and another showing exactly where that pipe is located.”
Including visual or written evidence for almost any type of report will provide value to those who read through your findings after submitting them. It should include everyone who comes into contact with this report in the future, including any other workers you may have spoken to about this incident.
Another critical detail to include would be any potential cause for concern should anything like this happen again. It’s helpful to mention why or how something could’ve malfunctioned or led to this happening in the first place. This will help prevent incidents like this by providing insight into how to fix these potential problems before they become an issue. For example, the pipe burst of incident one could result in a more specific cause here such as “the lack of insulation around this pipe may have contracted too tightly over time leading to an increased chance for leakage or breakage” or similarly along those lines.
When it comes down to it, the most important details you want included are all about what happened – how, when, where – and little else. The other details are there to provide beneficial context for everyone interested in reading your report should they ever need it.
5) Submit Your Report by the Deadline If So Requested
This should go without saying, but you may want to submit this via email or otherwise if needed (if any other reports need to be presented as well).
Be wary of what you report and who you do so too! Suppose your fellow employees know they can get away with any sort of impropriety without anything coming back on them. In that case, it could easily lead to issues – even if everyone else involved willingly participates. Though it may not seem like it now.
If you don’t feel confident writing reports like these yourself, make sure you speak with your boss about it beforehand – no one likes working with someone who doesn’t put effort into their work!
Understanding what is an incident report is already a handful, let alone creating one. There is a shortcut, though, where you don’t need to worry where to start. Check out Venggage’s ready-to-use workplace incident report template!