An incident report is a formal recording of the facts related to a workplace illness, injuries, near misses and accidents. Its primary purpose is to uncover the circumstances and conditions that led to the event in order to prevent future incidents and should be completed at the time an incident occurs no matter how minor an injury is.
Types of reports include memos, minutes from meetings, lab reports, book reports, progress reports, justification reports, compliance reports, annual reports, and policies and procedures. Other types of reports include feasibility reports, credit reports, sales activity reports, personal evaluation reports, incident reports, financial reports, etc.
An Incident Report can be long or short depending on the scenario. Unlike long reports, most short reports require no extended planning, are quickly prepared, contain little or no background information, and have no front or end matter (title page, table of contents, glossary, etc.). But despite their conciseness, short reports do provide the information and analysis that readers need.”
Incident Report should contain:
- When the incident occurred
- Date of incident
- Time of incident
- Where the incident occurred
- Who was involved
- How many were involved
- Who was interviewed
- What happened (narrative)
- Type of incident, people involved (victims/suspects), and location
- Filing information (case and incident numbers)
Incident Report Writing Presentation
- The narrative uses simple declarative statements, typically with people occupying the place of the subject.
- Use of verbs is active but primarily neutral, with a focus on communication that transpired (“responded,” “spoke,” “admitted,” “realized,” “advised”), with two instances of the use of passive voice (“was advised”)
- The narrative is described with a neutral tone and feels formal
- The narrative is described in chronological order, beginning with an officer responding to the incident, moving
through the incident, and providing information on follow-up.
Things to note when writing Incident Report
- Choose the main objective
- Collect the data – add the facts, figures, and data to add credibility.
- Ensure good readability – make navigation easy by adding visuals, graphics, proper formatting with subtitles, and bullet points. Shorter paragraphs are better than long bulks of text.
On (date, time) reporting officer (name) was (dispatched, observing, contacted by) (to, who) (location), etc. For example, On June 21, 2016, at about 2100 hrs, reporting officer, Smith was on duty and received a dispatch call for a burglary in progress at 123 2nd St; in St. Cloud, Mn. Upon arrival, the officer observed an elephant smashing the front window glass of an electronics store, the elephant, later identified as Snout, Henry, placed a large television set in his trunk and attempted to flee the location on foot
Steps on how to write Incident Report
- Start the report as soon as possible. Write it the same day as the incident if possible. If you wait a day or two your memory will start to get a little fuzzy.
- Provide the basic facts. Your form may have blanks for you to fill out with information about the incident. If not, start the report with a sentence clearly stating the following basic information:
a) The time, date and location of the incident (be specific; write the exact street address, etc.).
b) Your name and ID number.
c) Names of other members of your organization who were present
- Include a line about the general nature of the incident. Describe what was brought to you at the scene of the incident. If you received a call, describe the call and note what time you received it. Write an objective, factual sentence describing what occurred.
a) For example, you could write that you were called to a certain address after a person was reported for being drunk and disorderly.
b) Note that you should not write what you think might have happened. Stick to the facts and be objective.
- Write a first-person narrative telling what happened. Write a chronological narrative of exactly what happened when you reported to the scene.
a) Use the full names of each person included in the report. Identify all persons the first time they are cited in your report by listing: first, middle, and last names; date of birth, race, gender, and reference a government-issued identification number.
b) For example, when the police officer mentioned above arrives at the residence where he got the call, he could say: “Upon arrival, the officer observed a male white, now known as Doe, John Edwin; date of birth: 03/15/1998; California Driver’s License 00789142536, screaming and yelling at a female white, known as, Doe, Jane, in the front lawn of the above location (the address given earlier). The officer separated both parties involved and conducted field interviews. The officer was told by Mr John Doe that he had come home from work and discovered that dinner was not made for him. He then stated that he became upset at his wife Mrs.
Jane Doe for not having the dinner ready for him.”
c) If possible, make sure to include direct quotes from witnesses and other people involved in the incident. For example, in the above scenario, the officer could write “Jane said to me ‘Johnny was mad because I didn’t have dinner ready right on time.’
d) Include an accurate description of your own role in the course of what occurred. If you had to use physical force to detain someone, don’t gloss over it. Report how you handled the situation and its aftermath.
- Be thorough. Write as much as you can remember – the more details, the better. Don’t leave room for people reading the report to interpret something the wrong way. Don’t worry about your report is too long or wordy. The important thing is to report a complete picture of what occurred.
a) For example, instead of saying “when I arrived, his face was red,” you could say, “when I arrived, he was yelling, out of breath, and his face was red with anger.” The second example is better than the first because there are multiple reasons for someone’s face to be red, not just that they are angry.
b) Or, instead of saying “after I arrived at the scene, he charged towards me,” you should say “when I arrived at the scene, I demanded that both parties stop fighting. After taking a breath and looking at me, he began to run quickly towards me and held his hand up like he was about to strike me.”
- Be accurate. Do not write something in the report that you aren’t sure actually happened. Report hearsay as hearsay, not as fact.
a) Additionally, if you are reporting what the witness told you, you should write down anything that you remember about the witness’s demeanour. If their statement’s cause controversy later, your report can prove useful. For example, it would be helpful to know that a witness appeared excited while telling you what happened, or if they seemed very calm and evenhanded.
- Be clear. Don’t use flowery, confusing language to describe what occurred. Your writing should be clear and concise. Use short, to-the-point, fact-oriented sentences that don’t leave room for interpretation.
- Be honest. Even if you’re not proud of how you handled the situation, it’s imperative that you write an honest account.