10 Times An Incident Report Should Be Completed

Posted 27.01.21 by:

a woman ponders when to complete an incident report

With so many potential incidents, it can be challenging to know when to complete an incident report. Depending on the nature of the incident, there may be legal requirements beyond the in-house incident report completion that you may need to complete and submit within a deadline. Such is the case with incidents that involve personal injury and also vehicle accidents. But what about all the other possible incidents? What times should an incident report be completed?

You should complete an incident report any time there is an event that causes injury to a person or persons, property damage or a hazard is present. Given the various possible types of incidents, particular circumstances also carry deadlines to submit reports to different government bodies.

To help you decide what type of report or reports you need to complete, we’re going to go over all the most common types of incidents and severities to determine whether or not a report requires completion. We’ll investigate some of the reporting requirements for certain types of incidents within the United States and Canada, so you’ll know if you need to complete an incident report or not.

Types of Common Incidents That Need Reporting

Each company should have a health and safety program that outlines the types of incidents that the company is a) legally obligated to report to outside authority and b) voluntarily reporting in-house.

Type Of IncidentExampleCorresponding Incident Report TypesShould You Fill Out An Incident Report?Further Reporting Details.
3rd Party InjuryCustomer slip and fall incident.Third-Party Incident Injury Report, General Incident ReportYesState-specific, 24 hours is a common deadline to report to OSHA.
Cyber AttackCompany computer network hacked.Major Event Incident Report, Cyber Security Event Report, Network Incident ReportYesReport to IC3, FTC, EConsumer.gov or DOJ in the USA. See USA.gov for more details.
Dangerous SituationTree limb hanging on the electrical line.Dangerous Situation Incident ReportYesShould report immediately to the supervisor.
Employee InjuryEmployee slip and fall incident.Employee Incident Report, Employee Injury Report FormYesState-specific, 24 hours is a common deadline to report to OSHA in the USA.
Environmental IncidentOil drum falls off a truck and spills all over the parking lot or roadway.Environmental Incident Report, Chemical Spill Incident Report, Emission Incident ReportYesReport all environmental spills and violations to the EPA.
Harassment IncidentAn employee bullying another employee.Employee Incident Report, General Incident Report, Workplace Harassment Incident ReportYesReport immediately to the supervisor. If the in-house policy fails, a report may be made to the EEOC.
Natural DisasterTornado, flood, fire or other acts of God.Major Event Report, General Incident Report, Property Damage Report.YesIn the case of weather-related, call the NWS. If power lines are down, or a hazardous situation is occurring, call 911.
Near MissA forklift nearly hits a pedestrian in a warehouse.Near Miss Incident Report, Dangerous Situation ReportYesIn-house reporting records are required to maintain compliance with OSHA guidelines in most industries
Property DamageA transport backs up crooked and damages the loading dock plate.Property Damage Incident Report, Equipment Damage Incident ReportYesIn-house reporting is essential, especially if insurance is to be involved or a 3rd party must pay for the damages.
Vehicle AccidentA vehicle collides with another vehicle in the parking lot.Vehicle Incident Report, Vehicle Accident ReportYesState-specific, 24 hours is an expected deadline to report a vehicle accident to the police or a collision reporting center.

More About Times An Incident Report Should Be Completed

3rd Party Injury

When an injury occurs to a customer, client, contractor, or visitor on your work premises, a third-party incident or injury report is required. Like an employee injury, third-party injuries must also be reported to authorities much in the same way you would report an employee injury.

In the United States, OSHA is the body that oversees the injury reporting process for the business. Each state has its local office locations, and if you need to contact them, you will reach out to the local office. For more information on reporting workplace injuries, please read our article about employee injury reporting. Suppose you need a template for an injury. In that case, you can use a general report, modify an Employee Injury Report Form, or use a digital reporting solution like the 1ST Incident Reporting app.

Cyber Attack Incident

Due to our advanced technological growth, there are more cyber threats to our businesses and day-to-day lives. Cyber attacks are becoming more commonplace in industries around the world. If your company is hit with a cyberattack, it can cripple business quite effectively. If your company suffers from an attack, it’s wise to report to the Department of Justice authorities, for example. An in-house incident report will be a smart idea to document the situation for either your own IT Security personnel or authorities like the DOJ.

Dangerous Situation

Dangerous situations can arise at a moment’s notice. Conditions that present a hazard and, therefore, need a resolution to fall into this category of reportable incidents. You should report a dangerous situation to your management team.

Resolving dangerous situations by mitigating danger is essential for running a safe work environment. Any time you face a dangerous problem in your company, it should be recorded on a Dangerous Situation Report Form like the downloadable PDF or the superior digital reporting solution we offer.

Employee Injury 

when to complete an incident report? near miss or injury, both times are best.
When to complete an incident report? Any time there’s an injury, at the very least!

Whether on a construction site or in a hospital, employees are at risk of injury when a hazard (or unruly guest) presents itself. Most of the time, we hope that these hazards are noticed, reported, and mitigated before the injury, but sometimes injuries are merely out of our control.

When a team member is injured, whether it’s a minor first-aid situation or a significant and severe injury, you should record. Even a little papercut can lead to gangrene if the wound is not sterilized. For liability, the business must seriously take the smallest of injuries by documenting and offering up corrective action.

If you need to report a team member injury, do so using a proper Employee Injury Report Form or a digital reporting solution (preferred). Depending on what country and region the incident occurred, there are likely government-specific forms that need to complete. 

Environmental Incident

Environmental incidents are most commonly spills but may also be emissions. When a spill occurs, the first course of action is always to limit the hazard. Evacuations for spills involving toxic chemicals are common to limit people’s risk, but it depends on the spill.

Environmental spills and emission incidents that occur outdoors get reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Harassment Incident

Harassment, bullying, and other such incidents are unfortunate side effects of having humans in the same place. Eventually, someone is going to do or say something that offends someone else. In today’s society, one can barely cross a room without offending someone. But having respect for one’s fellow employees is vital to good work culture, and it must be taken seriously and dealt with with candor and empathy.

Using a general incident report for harassment and similar incidents is acceptable, but using a digital solution with a specific harassment report is ideal. You must always report these sorts of incidents to management. Sometimes these situations can escalate and get labor officials involved, so a complete and robust in-house reporting system is recommended.

Natural Disaster Incident

Natural disasters might take the form of extreme weather such as a tornado or hurricane, a flood, tsunami, earthquake, or similar event out of the control of people. You should always report these incidents when it affects your operations. Property damage, dangerous situations, and more may occur during a natural disaster incident, and therefore the incident may require more than one type of incident report form.

Near Miss Incident

When a situation arises where a hazard is present, and a person narrowly escapes injury, we call it a near-miss incident. You can use the preferred digital incident reporting solution or a Near Miss Incident Form to report these events in-house.

Property Damage

Another incident that may require multiple incident report forms is the event of property damage occurring. The damage may occur to a property such as a building, equipment, or even landscape.

The property damage incident is common in loading bays and similar areas where heavy machinery such as transport trucks and forklifts find use.

Documenting property damage incidents is vital for organizations that want to ensure that those who did the damage are held liable. Often the damage is caused by third parties, and for this reason, a concise and thorough report may be required, especially if the incident ends in litigation.

Vehicle Accident

Vehicle accidents are one of, if not the most common of incidents. With over 273 million vehicles in the USA alone, it’s no wonder, so many accidents occur.

For the sake of workplace incident reporting, vehicle accidents are not the most common incident. They may be quite common out on our roadways, but vehicle accident incidents are not at the top of the list on business private property. However, when they do happen, much like a property damage report, you must report a vehicle accident.

If you need to complete a vehicle accident report, you can use a Vehicle Accident Report Template. However, if the accident occurred on public property or will require an insurance claim, an appropriate form from your local DMV office may also meet the requirement.

When Should an Incident Report Be Completed in a Hospital?

In any healthcare setting, incidents must be reported as soon as possible. If severe outcomes are a high probability, the report itself may require completion following the incident event. However, no more than 24 hours should pass before a report’s completion. This timeframe ensures the accuracy of information due to documentation while the memory is fresh.

Who Should Get A Completed Incident Report?

Are you wondering to whom you should provide a completed incident report? The general rule is that you must complete an internal report based on your organization’s internal regulations.

The OSHA and other government bodies require report completion whenever an employee is injured at work. Check with your manager if you aren’t sure. They are usually the person who would get the report; if not, they can direct you to the correct individual at your organization.

The Last Word On When To Complete An Incident Report

Incident reporting is a critical stage of every business’s Health and Safety and Prevention programs. By now, you must understand that most of the time, you should complete an incident report. The only times an incident report is not required will depend on the severity of the incident and the guidelines set out by legislation and your company.

The simple rule to determine if you should complete an incident report is this:

When In Doubt, Fill It Out. If you aren’t sure what to include in your report, read our article honing in on the subject in 12 Things To Include In An Incident Report (With 5 Tips). Don’t skip the tips either, you’re going to find value there.

For more information about how you can implement a digital reporting solution into your business, learn about our digital reporting solutions at 1ST Incident Reporting.


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