Accidents in the workplace are no laughing matter…so why is it important to report them?
After all, they’re often just that – accidents. They can’t always be avoided; after all, accidents happen.
It’s true that many companies make workers sign incident reports when they start working for them (in fact, incident reports are compulsory under law). But having incident reports on file isn’t simply about documenting the history of your employees’ time with your company.
If properly implemented and used correctly, incident reports can actually help protect both employees and employers alike. Here’s how:
- Reporting incidents may seem like it’s doing the opposite, but incident reports help provide accurate records of accidents and injuries at work. Accurate records mean that companies know how to work within the limits set by their insurance policies; in turn, this means that employees will be able to receive full compensation for any injuries they may have suffered.
- If an incident report is filed immediately after an accident (ideally before your employee has had a chance to go home and forget about what happened), you’ll be able to act quickly in order to prevent further harm. For example, if there is contaminated material involved in the incident, you’ll need to make sure it’s disposed of properly right away – otherwise toxic chemicals could seep into groundwater or air surrounding your building (putting not only your employees at risk, but also people in the surrounding area).
- Incident reports may reveal that the incident wasn’t the first of its kind – and that you should take steps to prevent similar incidents from happening again. This is especially important if it would be difficult or impossible to know about a problem otherwise. For example, many companies don’t know they have asbestos on their property until an incident reveals it; filing incident reports before this happens will allow you to check for such problems and eliminate them before anyone else becomes exposed.
- Having incident reports on file helps protect everyone involved by providing an objective account of what happened (which means there’s less chance of accusations being thrown around). It’s much easier to defend yourself against claims based on hearsay – or even your own memory of what happened.
- Incident reports are also important not only for the incident itself, but also for any investigations that might be conducted after it’s reported. If you’re ever faced with a lawsuit (and yes, they can happen without much warning), incident report information will help you determine which parts of the incident – and why it occurred – should be emphasized to prove to the court that you weren’t negligent in how you handled it. And again, incident reports themselves may stand as evidence during proceedings if an incident was properly documented.
The bottom line is that failing to file incident reports won’t just result in your company looking unprofessional; failing to file an incident report could actually cause harm within your company, to your employees, and to the surrounding community – which not only makes it more difficult for you to do business successfully but could even put other people in danger. So incident reports are important for protecting everyone involved – including the company itself!