Incident reporting procedure example and flow chart
Why is your safety incident reporting procedure important?
Safety is a critical part of successful construction and industrial project management, and at the heart of safety management is reducing the number and severity of incidents occurring on your sites. If you can reduce the number of incidents, then you can keep your people, assets and projects safe.
But unfortunately, the overarching goal of safety and incident management is an impossible one. No matter how hard you work or how smart your company is, you are inevitably going to run into some incidents.
Because of the inherent nature of incidents in the industries, as a part of overall safety management, companies must have reliable processes in place to improve how incidents are reported, managed and actioned or investigated.
In terms of reactive measures (things which take place after an incident or after-the-fact), incident reporting is the first stop in the chain or sequence of incident events.
How you create and manage your incident reporting procedure can have lasting effects on your safety efforts.
A poor safety incident reporting procedure results in:
- Slow response times to incidents
- Litigation issues which arise from incident disputes
- Conformance issues associated with poor incident record keeping
- An inability to learn from past mistakes and improve safety over time
- More safety incidents, more injuries, more delayed projects etc.
For all of these reasons and more, your safety incident reporting procedure is really important to your projects and your business.And while it can often become an afterthought in the world of delivering projects, safety incident reporting is one of those things that can become a huge asset over time when it's done right.
Why is your incident reporting procedure flow chart or workflow important too?
Flow charts and incident reporting workflows are critical to the success of your procedure. As with all things in life, it's important to make people responsible and accountable for certain pieces of work.
A safety incident reporting flow chart or workflow will state and illustrate who is responsible for every part of the incident reporting procedure. The first piece of the flow chart may be random in that it can be any site level person or anyone on a team who can report an incident. But from here, the procedure should become clearer. If 'X' team or 'Y' person reports an incident, then a specific person must look over, acknowledge, escalate or escalate the incident to another person or party who is responsible for investigating the issue further etc. etc.
By not setting up flow charts and workflows, you are leaving your incident reporting procedure to chance and letting it 'happen' randomly.
When you do this, safety reporting breaks down. Someone on site initiates a safety incident report and escalates it to someone else on the team who is busy and it gets buried.
By setting up set flow charts and workflows, you can avoid this confusion and lack of accountability by ensuring that certain people are responsible for certain parts of the reporting framework.
At a high level, these workflows are the backbone of your procedure - along with the documents and mediums in which you choose to transfer the information.
An incident reporting procedure example
As previously mentioned, the first and most critical part of safety reporting and incident reporting is that the incident gets reported.
The onus for this part of the procedure is on site level personnel, as they are the people seeing, hearing and experiencing the incidents. If they don't report an incident, then the incident will probably go unnoticed or ignored - or worse, result in a worse incident because nothing was done to rectify the issue.
Although this is a site level issue, it's critical that management and companies set there people up for reporting success and do everything in their power to make it easy and encouraged.
There are still some cultural issues with incident reporting in construction and other industries, and training sessions, toolbox talks and other safety session and lessons help to break down these cultural issues and encourage a culture of safety.
And there also some logistical changes which companies can adapt and change in their procedures to improve incident reporting rates and frequencies which I will touch on later including making incident reports quick and easy to fill out and fast to send or escalate up the chain of command.
Below you will see an incident notification form which is an example of how an incident report procedure begins.
A person witnesses a safety incident on site and completes an incident notification or incident report form. This form contains important information about the who, what, where and when of the incident - which is all important information for the person who must read and interpret the form as well as for safety conformance and compliance.
Use and customise this incident reporting template for your free.
An incident reporting procedure flow chart or 'workflow'
Once this initial incident report is completed, your flow chart or workflow events will 'begin' - and these workflows should become as standardised as possible.
You'll see an example of a simple workflow and actioned safety incident flow chart below.
The site engineer (left column) 'opens' their incident report and fills in the information in accordance with the form fields - which have been carefully crafted and optimised by you.
Once the site engineer has completed this information, they signoff on the form to move it or escalate it to the project manager. The project manager reads through the incident report and makes a call on whether or not this is an issue which needs more eyes or more investigation.
Once the project manager is happy with how the incident has been reported and that they have done what is necessary to avoid a repeat incident or problem, they can also signoff on the incident report which will close it out.
Once closed, the incident report record needs to stay as exactly that - a record - but it has been acknowledged and actioned properly. Using software and other safety management tools, this procedure and process can become simple and streamlined.
Instead of having to fill in paper-based forms on site, upload them and email them to a project manager, all of these incident reports (in the software above) move in real-time.
The minute an incident report is filled out and signed off, the project manager gets a notification. He or she can then instantly send that over to another person via the platform too.
These softwares and tools can provide you with an automated incident reporting procedure which is consistent and reliable - and which everyone can use and collaborate on in real-time.
This speeds up how quickly companies can deal with and rectify incidents, as well as ensuring all of those incident reports and investigations are compliant.
Learn more about automated incident reporting flow charts and workflows.
Is it time to digitise your incident reporting?
As you can probably tell from the above information and screenshot, there are probably a number of ways in which you can streamline and improve your incident reporting procedure - including through dedicated workflow tools and softwares.
I would recommend doing so. Creating structure in your incident reporting procedure can be scaled and repeated across safety permits and other safety management issues. Your safety incident reporting workflows are very similar to many of your other worklfows, and safety management software can take care of many of them in the same way - through digital forms, automated workflows, bulletproof record keeping and real-time collaboration.
There's also less and less need to manage these tasks and activities manually. It eliminates valuable time you and your trained employees could be using to move projects forward and simply isn't efficient in a world where software can handle these tasks extremely well.
If managing your entire incident reporting procedure sounds like a stretch, then you can get started with one of our free incident reporting templates below.
These templates are completely customisable for your projects and teams, and can be filled out on site or in the office, and automate a lot of the manual admin out of managing and reconciling safety information.
There are plenty of tools and strategies for improving your safety incident reporting procedures and flow charts today - which free up people's time, improve safety participation and ultimately keep everyone safer every day.