We all know that incident reports are necessary.
They’re the first step in figuring out what went wrong, what needs to be changed or improved, and how to prevent future incidents from occurring.
Plus they can help you identify trends so you can take appropriate action before something goes wrong again.
But for many people, writing an effective report is tough—it seems like there are just too many details to remember and include every time.
And even if you do manage to write a good one at first, it will probably need revision after an incident review with your supervisor or boss. That’s why we put together this list of 10 tips on how to make incident reports like a pro:
Top 10 Ways To Make Incident Reports Professionally
1) Write down everything as soon as possible.
Whenever there’s an incident or an accident, write everything down immediately. You might be too caught up in what happened to remember every single detail, later on, so don’t put it off until you have time—that could be too late. Putting pen to paper is the best way to secure your information because it forces you to slow down and focus.
2) Keep a notebook with you at all times.
You never know when an incident is going to occur, so it’s a good idea to carry a small notepad with you at all times. You can jot things down during downtime or between work tasks—whenever there’s a chance something could happen and you want to be prepared. This way, if it does occur, you’ll have everything ready at your fingertips.
3) Use Venngage.
When you’re in the midst of an emergency or crisis situation, it’s not always easy to remember every detail while making your incident reports from scratch — especially when you’re busy taking care of other people.
That’s where Venngage can help — an online infographic maker that provides a wide range of free incident report templates suitable for all kinds of employees. Just create your free Venngage account, browse through their template page, choose the best layout, customize, and download.
The next time you need to write an incident report, just pull up the file, fill in the blanks and submit. It’s that simple!
To give you an idea, here are some incident report examples from their website.
4) Use the 5Ws and H.
When writing an incident report, it’s important to focus on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of things.
In other words: Who was involved? What happened? When did it occur? Where did it take place? Why did it happen? And how did it occur? Answer all of these questions as best you can, and they’ll help your supervisor or boss identify the root cause(s) of an issue so they know what to do next.
5) Keep a copy for yourself.
As soon as you finish writing up an incident report, make a copy of it for your own records—you never know when you’ll be asked to review it or submit an updated version. Keep this copy on hand just in case the original gets lost, misplaced, or stolen.
6) Include a video with screenshots.
If you have access to both still images and moving footage during an incident, include both in your report. The photos will help people visualize the event while the video shows them how it happened from start to finish. You can also add audio if there were any conversations that you want other people to hear or understand more clearly.
7) Make sure everything is accurate.
After an incident occurs, remember: time moves quickly and emotions run high. That’s why it’s better to take a pause and compose yourself before writing anything down. This will help you remember the facts, focus on what matters most and get through this crisis safely.
8) Get your facts straight.
It’s important not just to mention the facts, but also to get them right. This means double and triple-checking the who, what, where, and when of things—plus all other details you can think of that could be relevant to your report. Also, make sure to include as much information as possible about root causes.
9) Make it clear and concise.
The best incident reports are brief (but thorough). To make your report clear and concise, stick to the facts and avoid wasting time on things that don’t matter. For example, if two people were involved in an incident but only one of them is responsible for what happened, focus just on that person—not both.
10) Get someone else to look it over.
When you’re finished writing your report, get someone else to take a look before you send it in. This will help you catch any mistakes or omissions that might not have been as noticeable when you were writing it up. It’s also important because the person reading it may be unable to ask questions—so you want to do all the work for them!
It’s important to get an incident report right the first time. If you want help drafting a thorough and accurate document that will be easy for your supervisor or boss, use the tips above, and don’t forget to get your free template on Venngage today!