How to write an incident report form

No one wants to create an incident report form. But unexpected situations happen all the time, and it’s better to be prepared than caught off guard.

An incident report form records accidents, illnesses, and injuries. It can be used in many scenarios, such as workplace accidents, car accidents, and for police reports. For simplicity, we’ll use the example of a workplace accident.

Here are four steps for building and writing a simple yet effective incident report form:

  1. Decide how you’ll collect the data

  2. Traditionally, companies have relied on pen and paper to collect information. This has led to a lot of inaccuracies, lag time in reporting, and disorganization. Using a digital solution can help solve those problems. But using mobile forms has the added benefit of enabling employees to report on the spot from their own device.

    JotForm Mobile Forms makes incident reporting simple and seamless. Mobile Forms allows you to collect data, even when you don’t have internet access. So if that incident happened in the parking garage or a stairwell where you can’t get a cell signal, you can still file the report.

  3. Determine what needs to be reported

  4. Ask for as much detail as possible using objective questions. Incidents can cause strong emotions, which can lead to bias. A report should stick to the facts. The more specific and unbiased the questions are, the easier it will be to develop corrective actions.

    This information includes

    • Name, job title, and department of the affected person
    • Location of the incident
    • Date of the incident
    • Time of the incident
    • Context/conditions surrounding incident (what was the employee doing, was the floor slippery, etc.)
    • Witnesses
    • Injuries (affected body part(s), nature and extent of injury)
    • Treatment (for injuries)
  5. Build your incident report form

  6. The person filling out the report needs to provide enough detail so that anyone who reads the report can picture the incident exactly the way it happened. That means the incident report form needs to offer an opportunity for the filer to provide this information. One way to do this is by including text boxes for open-ended questions.

    Fragment of a first report of injury form template

    With JotForm Mobile Forms, you can take a photo through the app. As mentioned above, being able to document the incident with as much detail as possible — especially with photos — will create a more effective report. While an employee fills out an incident form through JotForm’s mobile app, they can select the Take Photo widget to add a photo to their report.

    Other widgets you can include are the Geolocation widget, which can capture the location of the incident so the employee doesn’t have to fill it in, and an e-signature widget, so that the employee can sign the report before submitting it.

  7. Set up methods to consolidate and analyze the data

  8. Now that you have all the necessary data about the incident, how do you make sure it goes to the right people and helps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future?

    With JotForm, you can set up email notifications for form submissions, so that incident reports go to the appropriate person. You can also use integrations to send data to file storage systems (like Google Drive), project management tools (such as Airtable, Asana, and Trello), and communication apps like Slack.

    When incident data automatically goes to the appropriate parties in a way that’s actionable, your organization can put policies and initiatives in place that reduce the likelihood of future incidents.

This article is originally published on Mar 05, 2020, and updated on Jun 26, 2020
Simone is the community marketing Associate at JotForm. She’s a bilingual, native San Franciscan who’s passionate about fitness and volunteering. When she’s not posting to social media or starring in videos, she’s lifting weights or planning events for her Meetup group. You can reach Simone through her contact form.

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