May 25, 2020

How to Write a Work Accident Report

When a workplace incident occurs, it’s crucial to complete an accident report.

Special to California Business Journal.

Can you imagine what it’d be like to lose a finger?

One employee was cleaning off the printing press, wondering how much longer he had to work until lunchtime. He took his eyes off the machine to glance at the clock. Suddenly, his hand got caught up in the rotating gear, cutting off two-thirds of his finger.

True stories like this happen all the time. Research shows that every 7 seconds, a workplace injury takes place. Employers who fail to write a work accident report can face criminal charges. While employees who don’t report injuries risk losing their ability to receive workers’ compensation.

Do you want to know how to protect yourself, and do the right thing legally, and morally? Read on to learn everything you need to know about filling out an accident report at work.

Work Accident Report

A work accident report has to include all of the essential information about the accident itself. There are 4 basic steps for writing an accurate accident report. First, we’ll go over the steps for employers to take. However, keep in mind that as an employee, you’ll be following a lot of the same steps to create your worker’s comp report.

Here are the 4 basic accident report writing steps:

  1. Get the facts
  2. Learn the sequence
  3. Analyze the information
  4. Make safety recommendations

First, you’ll want to make sure that you find all of the facts about the incident. You’ll need to gather the date, time, and location the incident took place at. Next, you can begin to write down the names, job titles, and any immediate supervisors.

Witnesses and Sequence of Events

You should always find out if any witnesses saw the incident take place. Once you have the facts, and witness statements, you’re ready to begin determining the sequence. To determine the sequence, you’ll need to find out what events led up to the incident.

Was the employee running through the workspace? Were they handling a hazardous material? All of these details are important and need to be in your report. Once you determine the sequence, you can begin to analyze your report.

Provide an Analysis

Your analysis needs to list the primary cause of the accident, as well as any other contributing factors. Finally, as the employer, you’ll need to recommend any corrective safety actions that can help prevent further injuries.

Tips for Employees Reporting Injuries

If you’re the one who got hurt on the job, you’ll need to know how to report your workplace injury to your employer. Every state will have its requirements when it comes to workers’ compensation eligibility. However, if you don’t follow the right procedures, you could forfeit your right to collect workers’ comp benefits.

Here are a few tips for reporting your workplace injury to an employer:

  • Report your injury immediately
  • Include all relevant information in your report
  • Use your state-approved accident report form
  • Avoid common accident report mistakes

Depending on what state you live in, they’re different deadlines for filing a worker’s compensation claim. That’s why you should notify your employer immediately after the injury occurs. You can always read more now, to better understand how to handle job injuries as an employee.

Include Relevant Information

Moving on, check that your report includes all of the relevant information. You’ll need to include your name, contact information, as well as the date and time of your injury. Next, you’ll need to list where the accident happened, how you hurt yourself, and what symptoms you’re experiencing currently.

Avoid Reporting Mistakes

Finally, make sure you avoid common mistakes. Don’t describe any symptoms that didn’t occur. Don’t speculate about your accident or give your opinion. Instead, stick to the facts. Finally, always be honest, never list any restrictions or limitations about yourself if you don’t have them.

How to Write Your Report Accurately

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, you’ll want to make sure you know the essential elements of creating an incident report.

Here are a few tips for creating efficient and factual reports:

  • Use an objective tone
  • Organize the information
  • always collect witness statements
  • Address confidential concerns
  • Double-check for accuracy
  • Use good grammar
  • Provide sketches or photos when possible

When a workplace injury happens, it can be an emotional experience. However, there’s no room for emotions in your incident report. The tone of your document needs to be objective and factual.

Include Photos and Sketches

Not every workplace incident report will require you to use sketches or photos, however, they can be incredibly helpful. For instance, if you’re an employee and you got hurt because of a loose floorboard, take a photo of the floorboard. If you’re an employer and your employee wasn’t following safety procedures, see if any security cameras captured this. The more proof you have, the better your report will be.

Always Be Professional

Write accurately and use a professional tone without allowing emotions to play a part. Next, make sure that you’re organizing your report in a chronological way. There’s going to be a lot of details in the incident report, and you’ll want it to be as easy to navigate as possible.

Whenever an accident takes place and there are witnesses, it’s always a good idea to get their statements. You’ll want to include the witness’s name, their position in the company, and where they were when the incident took place.

Consider Confidentiality

Keep in mind that your incident report may end up getting used in the court of law. Be careful to not include any confidential details that shouldn’t available to the public. For example, you wouldn’t want to include anything about the personal health of one of the witnesses.

Before you submit your report, make sure that you’re completely confident about the accuracy of every detail listed. Whenever possible, verify your details. A great way to do this is by including sketches or photos.

Pay Attention to Your Grammar

Finally, make sure you always use good grammar and proper word choices when creating your report. Writing a report with poor grammar can affect the credibility of the information you provide.

Play it Safe

Now you know what steps you need to take to protect yourself, and your team. Remember, no matter how minor the injury is, you should always file a work accident report.

Are you looking for more ways to play it safe on the job? If yes, go ahead and read another one of our articles.

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