Safety Management

Incident Reporting: The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Filing

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Salus Safety
5 min read
January 7, 2022

Construction site safety remains the top priority for every responsible business in the industry, and a key part of safety is transparency. There is nothing more valuable to any company than the employees who work for it, and ensuring that they have a safe and healthy workspace is vital, never more so than in this field.

Construction hazards, sadly, are quite predictable. According to OSHA, the same four hazards account for over 60% of all construction-related fatalities: struck by equipment, falls, electricity, and caught in between. Furthermore, each year, approximately 1.7% of construction workers are injured on the job — enough to miss work — and more than one in four reports being injured at work and failing to report it. This hurts the bottom line as well as reduces the safety of your employees.

Incident reporting is vitally important to maintaining a good safety record. It provides transparency as well as illuminating areas where safety can be improved: a vital part of any construction service. Doing so not only keep your sites safer and your workers healthier, but provides ancillary benefits that help your business thrive. While every company is unique, and every site has its own specific safety concerns, some guidelines can ensure you tick all the right boxes when filing incident reports.

The same four hazards account for over 60% of all construction-related fatalities.

Why Getting Your Construction Incident Report Correct is Important

It can be challenging to get an incident report correct, especially while responding to an incident. Proper documentation — despite the stress of the moment and the priority of ensuring everyone’s safety — is a critical step in ensuring a credible report. It provides accurate information, which in turn allows you to accurately assess what happened and take steps to prevent it from recurring. The benefits are considerable, especially when the steps to get clear and accurate information are practiced regularly.

These include:

  • Worker Safety: The all-important factor. Incident reporting can decrease the possibility of the incident happening again, which improves the health of your workers and the safety of your construction sites.
  • Schedules Met: Fewer accidents means fewer slowdowns, which better ensures that the project will stay on track and meet deadlines as expected.
  • Mitigate Risk: A company with a strong track record for safety can expect lower insurance premiums, as well as fewer inspections from OSHA and similar complications.

Correct incident reporting starts with proper planning, and steps to be taken in the event of an accident. Those responsible for onsite safety should be clearly denoted as such, along with concrete steps to take both when an accident has occurred, and how to report potentially unsafe conditions. It can take a lot of steps, which is why a good software platform can help matters considerably.

Incident Report Types

Incident reports are divided by type… depending on the nature and the cause of the accident in question. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Falls. Easily the most common form of construction site accident, accounting for over one incident in three. Falls can occur from scaffolding, ladders, or open edges. Slippery surfaces can increase this risk.
  • Falling Debris: Similarly, objects such as bricks and tools can fall from a height, causing considerable damage to property as well as posing a safety risk to workers.
  • Equipment Accident: This includes injuries suffered from equipment such as jackhammers, drills, and similar tools.
  • Electrical Accident: Exposed wires and power lines are often omnipresent on a construction site until the very last stages. Shocks and similar electrical accidents are always a concern.
  • Vehicular Accidents: These involve anything from company trucks to cranes, bulldozers, and similar heavy equipment. In many cases, such equipment requires proper training and licensing to operate.
  • Burns and Explosions: Caustic chemicals can result in fires, acidic burns, and similar injuries.
  • Overexertion/Other Medical Incidents: In some cases, onsite injuries can stem from simpler sources, such as overexertion, pulled muscles, and similar incidents.
Incident reports require a proper template so that the required information can be organized, noted, and quickly found when needed.

How Do You Write and File Incident Reports?

Incident reports require a proper template so that the required information can be organized, noted, and quickly found when needed. A given company should use one specific template when filling out incident reports whenever possible. This provides uniformity and allows anyone who needs them to access the given information quickly. OSHA’s Form 301 is a good base template for incident reports, but other templates can be used if they’re more suited to your company’s needs. Any template can be used so long as it makes provision for all the information required in OSHA’s Form 301.

That includes:

  • The 4Ws and H of the incident. What happened, when and where the incident took place, who was involved, how it was caused.
  • Initial findings. This should include both data gain during the incident, the most likely cause of the accident, and the specific results of the accident.
  • Corrective actions and improvements. With the cause of the accident known, a report should include practical actionable steps on how to correct it.
  • Conclusion. Summation of the pertinent details, conclusion, and course, of action to be taken.
  • Additional Material: Any attachments, photos, or any other applicable documentation.

Mitigate Risks and Streamline Reporting With The Right Solution

Incident reporting can be time-consuming and challenging, but its importance cannot be emphasized enough. As with other tasks in the construction industry, the right tool for the job can make a huge difference.

At Salus, we provide smart solutions for safety and compliance, helping you complete this all-important task swiftly and effectively. Our software allows you to manage your safety compliance measures from anywhere, keep track of official forms and files, and quickly fill out accurate and transparent incident reports when needed.

Salus Safety Software also provides analytics to help you better identify vulnerabilities in your safety plan. With it, you can not only create a safer environment for your employees but also ensure that the company reaps the benefits accordingly. Contact us today to schedule a demonstration and let us show you what Salus Safety Software can do for your construction firm and your most valuable resource: your workers!

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