Incident Management: 5 Common Mistakes in Incident Reporting

Home   »   SharePoint Health and Safety Software – EHS Software   »   EHS Training Management: Best Practices and Resources   »   Incident Management: 5 Common Mistakes in Incident Reporting

5 Common Mistakes Incident Reporting

Incident Management: 5 Common Mistakes in Incident Reporting

Incidents are unwanted and undesired – we all know that. We also all know that recording an incident can be a mission in itself. Nor would anyone ever say that the incident reporting process is fun. It can be a complicated, laborious and even tedious process. Yet safety practitioners make the same mistakes in their incident reporting – again and again. Here are five of the most common mistakes – to be avoided at all costs:

1. Don’t be exclusive

Very seldom should an incident report be undertaken by just you or any other sole person. In fact, make that never. There are certain incidents, like near misses or most minor incidents, that can easily be completed by that single person to whom the incident pertains – or to a designated safety person. Big mistake. It need not be a mass of people, but the more professionals involved in the process, the more thorough and inclusive it is likely to be. Accountability for a documented process is a commendable undertaking, but exclusivity here is not desirable. An apt quote: “Respect the burden.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

2. Don’t be minimalist

The under-reporting of incidents by employers is one of the chief complaints by OSHA. The same can be said for far too many incident reports. Overkill in incident data is not necessary, of course, especially if an incident were minor. However, less is not more when completing an incident report. Thoroughness is the holy grail for any incident reporter.

An apt quote: “People forget how fast you did a job; but they remember how well you did it.” (Howard W. Newton)

3. Don’t be shy

An incident needs to be shared – yes, shared. That means be shared with fellow professionals in your organisation, whoever they may be – the engineer, the artisan, the nurse, the accountant, your boss, perhaps everyone in an organisation. There is no coyness in incident reporting – after all, you’re all in it together, right? An apt quote: see Napoleon Bonaparte above.

4. An incident is not an island

An incident is not an isolated event. Not only can it have multiple impacts in your organisation, it is indicative of a system failure. Does your incident reporting speak to your non-conformance management system and thereafter to your safety system? And does it relate to your organisation’s management ecosystem? If not, change it – immediately. An apt quote: “Invisible threads are the strongest ties.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

5. Don’t forget the green and the red

If a safety portfolio includes health and the environment then there is a very strong chance that they are getting short shrift in the incident reporting system. All too often health and environment are the ‘poor cousins’ to safety, which can reflect tellingly in incident statistics. That is why the effort to overcome that safety bias must be a conscious and comprehensive one. To disregard health and environment in the workplace is, ultimately, to disregard safety too. An apt quote: “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” (Stephen R. Covey)

Incidents are the bane of a safety professional’s life. Management is always a-looming, colleagues a-harping and even auditors a-lurking, especially when incidents are large or serious. Incident reporting is the paper chase that can allow a safety person to sink or swim. That is why it is so important to get it right and to not fall into the typical, tired traps of incident reporting.

New Call-to-action

Download – Safety Management Software Checklist

Industries Served


Improve facility management, student health and safety, workforce and administration training, and related incidents.



Adhere to federal regulations, administer employee training programs, and enhance hospital facility management.


Manufacturing and Retail Industry

Upgrade facility management and safety measures, diminish workforce injuries, and enhance employee training programs.


Financial Services and Banking

Manage employee complaints and working conditions, injury reports, accidents, and improve compliance training programs.


Insurance and Employee Benefits

Increase training program effectiveness, reduce workplace injuries and complaints, and meet FTIC and SEC regulations.


Energy and Utilities

Abide by stringent government regulations, provide proper safety training programs, and mitigate workforce and onsite injuries.



Outline health and safety measures for drivers and pilots, abide by federal regulations, and communicate processes for hazardous materials (Hazmat).

Health and Safety Management – Best Practices:

Visit our resource library for industry best practices and how our Health and Safety Management Software has helped numerous clients in your industry.


See a Health and Safety Management Software Demo

Let us show you how our Health and Safety Management Software will strengthen your compliance program.



Subscribe to our Newsletter to get Compliance Best Practices, Informative Articles, Instructive Webinars & Industry-Insider Scoops.