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    the meaning of incident report

    Incident Reports: The Complete Guide

    • What is an Incident Report?

    An incident report formally documents workplace accidents, events, or near misses. These reports are crucial for capturing the details of the events that occur in situations like damage to company property, personal injury, health and safety issues, security breaches, or personnel misconduct. Companies should file incident reports because they give clear documentation of any incidents that happen to occur in the workplace.

    • What is the Purpose of Incident Reporting?

    Incident reporting is designed to provide formal and written documentation to describe the causes of workplace accidents and incidents. The reports should detail actions taken at present to address the incident and the reports can serve as frameworks for preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future. 

    the meaning of incident report

    • Top 3 Benefits of Incident Reporting at Work

    Incident reports are much more than a record-keeping tool. Organizations, employees, management, and even authorities benefit from the information provided in incident reports. While these reports provide many valuable resources to an organization, here are the top three benefits of incident reporting while at work: 

    1. Immediate Action Reinforcement

    When an accident or incident occurs in the workplace, it benefits a company to have the report filed in a timely manner, with accurate information. Reports should outline where things have gone wrong within the organization so that measures can be implemented to ensure these types of accidents or mishaps are avoided in the future. When a company takes incident reporting seriously, it sends a clear message that the organization prioritizes workplace safety and the business is accounting for all incidents and events, both big and small.

    2. Communication of Hazards and Threats

    Companies utilize incident reports to notify team members of workplace hazards. Once a report is filed, company leadership teams can disseminate the reports to employees and review the reports in a group setting. A company-wide report review will make the entire team aware of the factors that contributed to an incident so that teams will be more likely to notice other lapses in safety and then report them before another incident occurs. 

    3. Process Improvement

    The incident report provides clear and formal documentation of what went wrong and how companies can prevent similar damage from happening in the future. Incident reports show where there are gaps in an organization’s structures, methods, or processes. This knowledge enables management teams to create plans for improving company processes and for determining which policies and regulations are helping to create a safe workplace. 

    • What is Considered an Incident? 

    Workplace incidents include a variety of events. While no incident will be the same, each one will cause disruption, create dangerous or harmful risks, and introduce negative impacts on the workplace and employees. 

    • Workplace Incident Categories

    Workplace incidents can be categorized according to their severity. Some incidents will result in significant injury or property damage, whereas other events will simply be considered close calls. While many types of incidents can happen, here are the most common types of incidents that occur in the workplace today:

    1. Positive Observations

    Positive observations in incident reporting highlight the kind of behavior a company wants to encourage, and positive observations are the most common incidents among all workplaces. These observations validate a job well done and serve as concrete examples of how employees should conduct themselves in the workplace. Wearing helmets when required or showing a thorough knowledge of a fire escape plan are examples of positive observations. 

    Positive observations serve not only as ideals, but they also help organizations prevent harmful incidents from happening. Leadership teams can solidify their company culture of safety and risk management by noting what a team is doing well and highlighting how the team is practicing safety at work.

    2. Unsafe Acts

    Unsafe acts do not necessarily result in immediate danger or harm to property or personnel. However, unsafe acts are just that: unsafe. These incidents should be addressed, and plans should be put in place to reduce the number of these events. Shining a light on unsafe acts can help companies to draw attention to how teams can be more diligent about safety and how the team can work toward a safer workplace for all. 

    3. Near Misses

    A near miss refers to any situation where no one was harmed, but it was a close call. A near miss can shake up a team, especially if the risks or potential for injury were significant. Companies should take near misses seriously and they should use those events as educational opportunities to teach their teams the importance of workplace safety. 

    4. Minor Injuries

    If a team member gets injured on the job, but they don’t need to take time off work to recover, this is typically referred to as a minor injury incident. Medical care for a minor injury is usually administered on site so that the employee can immediately return to work.

    5. Lost Time Accidents

    A lost time accident means that an employee has been injured and requires time off for healing and medical care. Lost time incidents can vary in their severity; some will result in a mild injury such as a sprained ankle, but others can result in more severe injuries, like an amputation. Injuries sustained in a lost time accident will keep the employee out of work, which means the entire team will feel the weight of these incidents, both from an emotional and productivity standpoint. 

    6. Fatalities

    Unfortunately, death can occur in many high-risk workplaces. No company wants to face the reality of a fatality within their team, especially if the event occurs at work. After all reports are filed, company leaders should consider giving their teams time to grieve and approach moving forward with empathy and care. 

    • Common Types of Incident Reports

    1. Workplace

    Workplace incident reports detail physical events that happen at work and affect an employee’s productivity. These incidents can include injuries and near misses as well as other accidents that negatively impact the employee and the company. Workplace reports also allow for an employee to voice concerns regarding safety, security, and conduct.

    2. Accident or First Aid

    Accident or first aid reports are unique in that they can be filed by law enforcement and safety officers, as well as by members within an organization. First aid reports are used to document accidents that result in injury. 

    3. Safety and Security

    Safety and Security reports document theft, loss, and other security breaches that occur on a property, and typically a company’s security team will file the safety and security report. The breaches included in these types of reports can be physical, like a break-in or theft, but they can also cover cybercrime and database breaches. 

    4. Exposure Incident Report

    Exposure incidents include situations where an eye, mouth, mucous membrane, or non-intact skin makes contact with blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM). A formal report must be filed when an exposure incident occurs, and the employer must refer the exposed employee to a licensed healthcare professional. 

    • When Should You Write an Incident Report?

    Prompt incident reporting is crucial for accurate documentation. Studies show that witnesses tend to forget the details of an incident as time passes, especially if the event was traumatic. 

    That’s why incident reports should be filed immediately. When witness interviews happen right away and incident reports are filed promptly, they are more likely to gather all the important and minute details that need to be included in the report.

    Having timely and accurate reports is beneficial to the organization and its employees for several reasons. One benefit of prompt incident reporting is that insurance companies can start to address the claim. If an incident report is delayed in being filed, it is possible that the insurance company could raise premiums and it’s possible that federal penalties could apply if too much time passes between the incident and when the report is filed.

    A benefit of accurate reporting is that it enables the company to better address the gaps in safety, which can help the company move forward with new implementations that prevent workplace harm. Additionally, incident reports can serve as important legal documents if the authorities need to become involved in the accident. Given all the benefits to prompt reporting, it is clear that immediately filing an incident report will result in better outcomes for everyone involved.

    • What Needs to Be Included in an Incident Report?

    For an incident report to be effective, there is important information that is necessary to include that will make the report helpful and clear. Incident reports should be factual, thorough, and highly detailed, and they should include these items: 

    • Specific Details – specific details paint an accurate picture of what led up to an event, how the event took place, and what happened immediately afterward. 
    • Facts – incident reports should be factual and should not be charged with emotion or opinions. 
    • Affected Persons – every person that was involved in the incident should be documented, from witnesses to those injured or those causing damage.
    • Setting – the date, time, and location of the incident should always be included. 
    • Administered Treatments – if an injury occurs in the incident, the medical care provided should be recorded and the names of the persons who administered and received medical care should be documented. 
    • Damages – the report should note any damage to a company or personal property as well as injuries sustained. 
    • Supporting Evidence – the report should collect photographs and videos of the event or the scene of the event. If someone made a call connected to the event, like a call to management or to 911, that information should be included in the report. 
    • Signed Validation – signatures should be collected from those involved in the incident to confirm that everyone agrees upon what has been recorded. 
    • What to do After Completing an Incident Report? 

    Once an incident report is filled out, the process is not yet complete – the report should also be sent to the team that is responsible for handling the investigation. This team should have the skills to evaluate the evidence presented in your report, and they must understand workplace health and safety standards. 

    The investigation team will review the report to determine the cause of the incident. They can then implement new policies and protocols to help prevent incidents from occurring in the future. A proper investigation will also ensure that the company is meeting federal requirements for workplace safety and the investigation can help determine the costs of property damage incurred during the incident.  


    Incident reports might seem intimidating or even needless in some circumstances, but ultimately they are meant to keep companies and their team members safe. Timely and accurate incident reports will address the present hazards and will help organizations cultivate a workplace culture of safety by preventing future accidents from occurring. Knowing how, when, and why to file an incident report will help keep properties safe and productive, and employees will know their well-being is a top priority. Schedule a demo with an expert to see how you can use our incident report templates to keep your team safe.

    the meaning of incident report

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    Incident Report: What is it & How to Write it the Right Way!

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    In a perfect world, nothing would ever go wrong. No accidents. No disasters. No calamities. Everything would look right out of a children’s novel.

    But unfortunately, life is not always rainbows and unicorns.

    That’s why we are always at a risk of getting hurt or injured, even if we pride ourselves on being careful all the time. Simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time is all that is needed to burst your happy little bubble.

    But despite all that, we try out best to ensure that we have a safe and healthy life, be it at home, work, or outside. It’s the reason we wear seatbelts in cars, helmets on bicycles, masks during an epidemic, and so on.

    Even in business, unexpected incidents can happen and cause injury to your employees, which is why it is always best to be prepared for any situation that might happen out of the blue.

    This is where an incident report can help you out! No idea what they are? Don’t worry! In this blog, we will provide you with the meaning, importance, and a step-by-step guide on how to create incident reports!

    Are you ready for this? Then, dive right in!

    What is an Incident Report? (Definition)

    An incident report is defined as a document that formally records all data related to all workplace accidents, illnesses, injuries, damages, and even near misses.

    This can be anything from health and safety issues to property damages, security breaches, or even workplace misconduct . You can even record the smallest or the most minor injuries as well.

    What’s the point of recording all this, you wonder? It is to find out the root cause of the problem, and the circumstances and conditions that led to the incident. This will help you prevent or remove such risks from happening in the future.

    A man reading a report

    An important thing about incident reports is that they should be completed at the time an accident or incident occurs, irrespective of how minor they are.

    All the information to be included in an incident report must be based on facts and written in an objective manner. It should present everything in a chronological sequence and should contain first-hand information from witnesses (if any). Home Page CTA

    The more specific your incident report is, the more useful it will be in making and taking preventive decisions.

    Now that you know what an incident report is and the major elements that constitute its essence, let’s take a look at the importance of creating one.

    Benefits of Creating Incident Report

    When things go wrong, an incident report is what your business needs in the investigation process that follows it.

    After all, the entire purpose of creating an incident report is to uncover the root cause of an accident to prevent it from happening again in the future.

    But let’s take a deeper look at how exactly they are useful in your business.

    1. Creates Awareness about Hazards

    An incident report can be used to call out attention to any potential threat or hazard that might cause harm in your workplace. It basically gives a heads-up on the lurking dangers and puts them on a red alert.

    This helps your employees understand or anticipate hazards, spot the threats in advance and prepare themselves with procedures and measures to mitigate the risks.

    Read more:  Formal Report: What is it & How to Create it!

    2. Discourages Improper Actions

    The thing about incident reports is that they encourage proper actions and discourage improper actions. This means that they highlight dangerous actions that may cause harm even if they haven’t caused any harm yet.

    An incident report acts as a reminder to everyone in the business that following safety measures is an extremely serious matter, thereby discouraging any action that might be dangerous.

    3. Improves Safety Processes

    With an incident report, you can find out what areas needs to be fixed and changed in your organization. It helps you assess your needs and accordingly aid you in implementing new policies and changes in order to make improvements in your business.

    A fireman workign for other's safety

    You can then evaluate whether the changes you made to the safety and security of your work affected your business positively or negatively.

    That pretty much gives you an idea of how important an incident report can be to your business! Now let’s move to the steps involved in creating an incident report!

    Ready? Let’s go!

    How to Create an Incident Report? Follow these Steps!

    Here we will walk you through the steps to be taken while writing an effective incident report.

    Step 1. Respond Quickly

    Once an accident or an injury has happened, you have to make sure that immediate action has been taken. Respond to the event by helping out the people in danger or by eliminating the danger itself (if possible).

    If you weren’t present at the scene, then you must try to gather all the necessary details right after becoming aware of the incident or receiving its news.

    This will help you recollect all the important details and piece them together while it’s still fresh in your mind. Also, ensure that you report the event and its details to your respective authorities.

    Step 2. Gather the Facts

    Next step is the most crucial one. It is to gather all the facts. By facts, we mean a detailed description of the incident in the exact manner of occurrence.

    A girl gathering facts about an incident

    This must include:

    • The specific location, date, and time of the incident
    • Details of all the affected persons
    • Statements from witnesses
    • The context of the incident or the reasons that led to it (this could be man-made, environmental, or negligence or other circumstances)
    • Details of the injuries and damages caused by the incident
    • Pictures, CCTV footage, or videos of the incident (if available)

    All this information is the most reliable data you can collect and will thus form the basis of the investigation of the incident. It will help you decipher causes and prevent them from happening in the future.

    Step 3. Put all the Data Together

    The next step is to make sure that you put together all the data you just collected. This will help you understand the factors that led to the incident.

    All the information must be detailed and specific so that anyone who reads the report will be able to easily put together the story in their minds.

    Step 4. Analyze the All the Information

    Now that you have all the detailed data together in one place, the next step is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the entire incident.

    Here, you will study the causes that led to the incident or event and the factors that were involved in order to figure out how and why it happened. Through this, you will be able to come up with the primary causes , secondary causes, and the additional factors that contributed to the entire incident.

    In this section, you should also try to identify and analyze what happened in the aftermath of the incident and study the reactionary measures that were put in place in order to prevent the problem from aggravating.

    Step 5. Establish a Preventative Action Plan

    With all the details in your hand, properly studied and analyzed, the next logical step for you to take is to formulate a corrective or preventive action plan.

    Here, you can provide suggestions and recommendations to prevent the possibility of another incident happening in the future. This could be anything from safety training to re-evaluating machinery to creating operation changes to even conducting job hazard analyses.

    You are now fully equipped to write an effective and well-structured incident report if any incidents were to arise. But before you go, we’d like to introduce you to a tool that helps you create incident reports in a jiffy!

    Don’t believe us? Scroll down to find out more!

    Read more:  Business Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Format) : The Best Tool for Creating All Sorts of Reports

    Creating an incident report is not exactly very easy.

    Sometimes you might be in a frenzy trying to recollect the facts and information, and the last thing you want to focus on at that point is the look and feel of your document. You will also have to add your pictures and videos to the document and ensure that everything is written in an orderly manner. Tool for creating reports

    That’s why we present to you, a modern cloud-based document creation, and collaboration platform, designed exclusively to satisfy all your documentation needs.

    With Bit, you’ll be able to whip up an incident report in a matter of minutes – that too with just a few clicks. Not convinced enough? Then take a look at these features of and decide for yourself!

    1. Document Templates

    Bit has an extensive template gallery that provides you with over 70+ ready-made templates . Pick a template that suits your needs the best, enter all the necessary details and customize it however you want! Just focus on your content and Bit will do the rest!

    Don’t worry about the structure and format of your incident report when Bit’s extensive template gallery offers you so many responsive templates from which you can choose your favorite!

    2. Automated Design

    The last thing you want to focus on while creating an incident report is its format and structure.

    But with Bit’s auto-formatting feature, you don’t have to worry about any of that because your document will be automatically formatted to give you a consistent and uniform look.

    3. Supports Multiple File Formats

    Your incident report will require you to add a photo or video documentation of the event or the aftermath of the event.

    You can easily do this with bit’s smart integration, which allows you to seamlessly add rich media elements like images, videos, audios, pdfs, and lots more to your document within a few seconds!

    4. Multiple Workspaces

    Accidents can happen across multiple departments in a business. You’ll need a place to store all the information from different departments under one roof.

    Bit allows you to create infinite workspaces and folders around multiple incidents that may occur in your workplace.

    You will be able to store all the details related to each incident in a neat and orderly manner, thus making incident reports more efficient.

    5. Real-time Collaboration

    If there are multiple witnesses for an accident or an event, your incident report will require the inputs from them all.

    Here, you can use Bit’s real-time collaboration feature to invite multiple witnesses to join you and work together in real-time to prepare an incident report. You can make edits, add comments, highlight text, and mention other collaborators all within the same document!

    All in all, Bit provides you with everything you need while creating an incident report or any report! So just get Bit to make your business lives easier and smoother!

    Being prepared for an unexpected incident is always difficult, but taking preventive and corrective measures can maintain a safe and secure environment for you and your employees.

    That’s why, if done correctly, an incident report is a perfect way to promote and improve workplace safety. They provide you with steps to avoid future mishaps and create a safe and healthy workplace where everyone can work in peace.

    In this blog, we have walked you through the steps to be taken while writing an incident report and, as a cherry on the cake, told you about Bit to make your lives a little less difficult.

    Further reads:

    Annual Report: What is it & How to Create it?

    KPI Report: What it is & How to Create a Perfect One?

    Performance Report: What is it & How to Create it? (Steps Included)

    Technical Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Structure Included)

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    • Resource Center

    Incident Reports: The Ultimate Guide

    A well-written incident report protects both the worker and the company.

    Jump to a section:

    What is a workplace incident, what is an incident report, purpose of the incident report, how to write an incident report, timeframe for reporting, after the report.

    Almost 3 million non-fatal workplace incidents were reported by private industry employers in 2019 and over 888,000 in the public sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Thirty-eight per cent of women have been sexually harassed at work. Nearly half of companies have experienced a data breach within the last year .

    No matter how safe you think your workplace is, there’s a good chance you will need to complete an incident report this year. Misreported incidents can lead to compromised cases, additional incidents, and even lawsuits and fines.

    Does your organization have a process in place when the inevitable occurs?

    Not sure if you’re documenting incidents in your workplace properly?

    This incident report template pack helps HR, safety, and other departments capture important incident-related information. Download your pack to ensure your reports are thorough, consistent, and compliant.

    Get My Templates

    A workplace incident refers to almost anything that goes awry on a job site or any place where an employee is representing your organization.

    Upon hearing the term "workplace incident", many people first think of accidents, injuries, illnesses, and near-misses. These could be trips, slips, falls, burns, broken bones, strains and sprains, and other bodily harm sustained on the job. Incidents also include other health and safety issues, such as exposure to hazardous or toxic substances or communicable diseases (e.g. the flu or COVID-19).

    However, workplace incidents also relate to:

    • Damage to company property (e.g. building, electronics, company cars)
    • Physical security issues (e.g. break-in, damage to locks/security cameras/buzzer system)
    • Cybersecurity issues (e.g data breach, phishing attempts, malware)
    • Workplace misconduct (e.g. theft, harassment, discrimination, bullying, violence)
    • Conduct of employees outside the workplace (if you have an off-duty conduct policy)

    In the video below, internal investigations expert Ken McCarthy, PCI, clears up two common misconceptions about workplace incidents.

    An incident report is completed any time an incident or accident occurs in the workplace. It’s among the most important documents used in an investigation at every company that values the health, safety, and wellbeing of its employees.

    Most companies with more than 10 employees are required by OSHA to keep records of workplace incidents. But many managers don't know how to write one.

    An initial report is the first step in the incident investigation process no matter what type of incident is being recorded. In it, you record details of the incident for regulatory reporting requirements, as well as your company's records.

    The information you should include in the incident report varies according to the type of incident being reported. Generally, though, you should outline:

    • What happened (detailed description of the incident, incident category/type)
    • When it happened (date and time)
    • Where it happened (be as specific as possible)
    • How it happened (Are there any obvious root causes, like a puddle on the floor where an employee slipped)
    • Who it happened to (employee name and title)
    • Who reported it (Who is writing this document?)
    • Everyone who was involved (victim, witnesses, and accused person if misconduct is alleged)
    • Any damage or injury that incurred (nature and severity)
    • Witness reports/testimonials

    A report can be initiated by:

    • an employee who witnessed the incident
    • a manager who has knowledge of the incident
    • an automated detection method (e.g. security alarm system, email filtering)
    • a report on your hotline intake system (e.g. phone call, online submission)
    • an email from someone with knowledge of the incident
    • a customer or client report

    RELATED: The Complete Guide to Workplace Incident Investigations

    Your intake methods are important; implementing multiple reporting options (like email, hotline, phone calls, etc.) means you won’t risk missing serious incidents.

    With all of these methods for initiating an incident report, having a consistent system for writing, filing, and organizing them is imperative. Otherwise, you could miss details or entire reports, potentially putting employees in danger or resulting in a pricey compliance lapse.

    The way you store incident details is also crucial. Keeping track of incident reports and investigations in spreadsheets or paper files can make it tough to find the information later. You could even forget about some files altogether. Storing the incident report and subsequent investigation materials in a centralized location helps you save time and stay compliant.

    Case IQ's software streamlines your incident intake process and stores all the incident information in one place, ensuring no details slip through the cracks. Learn how here .

    For incidents that have regulatory requirements for reporting, such as those under Title IX and Title VII, and those that involve OSHA violations, you’ll need to record the incident according to federal and state/provincial government guidelines.

    Guidelines may dictate a time limit for reporting and that certain information is recorded and reported to authorities. An incident report template ,  like the one shown below, can help guide you, regardless of regulatory requirements.

    Be sure to include as many details in each section as possible. This ensures that you meet reporting requirements, if applicable, and helps you maintain thorough records.

    Certain types of incidents involve special recording requirements under OSHA. These include work-related accidents and injuries involving:

    • Needlesticks and sharp injuries
    • Medical removal
    • Hearing loss
    • Tuberculosis

    In the United States, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) , a division of the US Department of Labor, oversees health and safety legislation and incident reporting requirements. There are also state-level OSHA-approved plans with reporting requirements for health and safety related incidents.

    In Canada, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS ) is the federal body that oversees health and safety incident reporting requirements for federal employees and companies that operate across provincial or international borders. The remainder of companies are bound by incident reporting requirements of the province or territory in which they are situated.

    A report may also be completed for incidents not related to health and safety. These could be related to:

    • Harassment , discrimination, and bullying
    • Fraud and theft
    • Title IX and Title VII violations
    • Privacy breaches and data theft
    • Property damage and vandalization
    • Ethics and compliance lapses

    These reports are sometimes referred to as complaints, but whichever term an employer uses, they all require that a report is filed.

    The first step in managing an incident is to capture the facts of the incident as quickly as possible after it occurs.

    It’s important to file an incident report on the same day the incident occurs, when everyone involved is still on the premises and can remember what happened easily. If you wait too long before reporting an incident, those involved may forget the details of what happened and witnesses might be unavailable for interviews.

    Most companies have a policy for incident reporting that dictates the time frame for reporting after an incident has occurred. The time frame may be directed by industry best practices or even regulations.

    For instance, under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) , companies that process the data of California residents must inform affected users of a data breach "in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay." Prompt incident reporting is crucial to ensure compliance.

    A consistent process and timely reporting are crucial for incidents, no matter the type, severity, or industry. You never know when something that seemed like a minor incident will turn into a court case.

    A template can make incident reporting easier and ensures that you include all the information necessary. If you’re using case management software, the incident report can be completed in the system and will trigger the creation of a new case. This will save you administration time and keeps incident response consistent, preventing the risk of further incidents or fines. Learn more about about how our case management system can help you record and respond to incidents more effectively here .

    Are your incident investigations fair, timely, thorough, and consistent?

    If not, your risk further incidents, fines, and lawsuits. Download this printable checklist so you don't miss any important investigation steps.

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    Purpose of the Employee Incident Report

    An incident report serves as the official record of the incident and all subsequent activity related to the incident relies on the initial information recorded in this document.

    A timely report helps companies respond quickly to issues, resolve conflicts, and take preventive measures to reduce risk.

    The report:

    • Triggers an investigation
    • Provides documentation for follow-up
    • Supplies information to be used in the investigation
    • Is used for reporting to identify areas of risk
    • Provides data for company and industry research and analysis
    • Shows the company documented the incident within the required timeline
    • Ensures compliance with industry regulations that govern reporting of certain types of incidents and in certain industries

    Using the data from your incident report records, you can find patterns and areas of risk that need your attention. Then, focus your preventive efforts on those hot spots to keep similar incidents from happening in the future.

    For instance, say you notice an increase in harassment incidents this year. Using that information, you could require more frequent harassment training , frame respect as part of the job description, and encourage victims and witnesses to speak up on your reporting hotline.

    Case IQ's built-in reporting feature can analyze this data for you and present it in an easy-to-understand format such as graphs, charts, and heat maps. Learn how this feature can help your company prevent incidents here .

    Once all the information is captured in the report, it’s time to assess what happened to decide whether or not to conduct a full investigation.

    Not every incident will require an investigation. "Small disputes can usually be dealt with without investigation, but you never want to make issues worse by making an incident seem less impactful than it was," says Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy .

    But how do you decide? "Investigations should be mandatory if they meet all three criteria—first being that they have legal ramifications," explains HR specialist Jamie Hickey . "Second being that it will have a significant negative organizational impact if [the investigation] is not conducted, meaning it has potential to expose other employees or organizations wrong-doing. Thirdly, letting it go without investigating could lead to costly litigation or legal outcomes."

    Next, you'll need to decide who will conduct the investigation. You’ll need to decide whether to outsource the investigation or assign an internal investigator , and there are advantages and disadvantages to both .

    For example, an external investigator will approach the investigation fairly and neutrally. They also reduce your liability, might encourage witnesses to share more information, and could have expertise in an area your in-house investigators lack. Internal investigators, on the other hand, don't cost any extra money and can get to work right away.

    Choose an investigator who can remain objective and whose knowledge and skill set match the incident type and scope.

    A comprehensive investigation should ensue, involving interviews with everyone involved, evidence gathering, analysis, and a conclusion. The investigator completes an investigation report and this brings the process full-circle. You can use the results of this report to make changes in the organization so that the incident isn’t repeated.

    Finally, aggregated information about incidents, accidents, and illnesses can help you conduct effective risk assessments and analyze trends. If you can report on the data gathered in incident investigations, you have valuable insight into your company’s safety culture and work environment. Use this information to identify areas for safety and security improvements, additional training and incident prevention programs.

    A poorly-managed investigation can lead to more incidents, lawsuits, and other negative consequences.

    Download our free eBook to learn 10 steps to investigation management success.

    Get the eBook

    Workplace incident reports are a key part of regulatory compliance. But they're even more useful for internal purposes.

    14 per cent of companies don't use a consistent template to file incident reports, putting themselves at risk. Thorough, consistent record-keeping helps you identify areas of risk so you can take more informed preventive measures, protecting both your employees' well-being and your company's reputation.

    Related Resources

    Complying with the cfpb’s regulations for customer complaints, ai ethics in the workplace: how to use ai responsibly in every department.

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    Blog Human Resources

    How to Write an Effective Incident Report [Templates]

    By Victoria Clarke , Jun 13, 2023

    How to Write an Effective Incident Report [Templates] Blog Header

    We all do our best to ensure a happy and healthy workforce. That’s why, in a perfect world, you would never have to create an incident report.

    But since incidents do happen, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared for any situation–especially the unexpected.  

    Small business owners, human resources teams and workplace emergency first responders: this is the article for you! 

    In this step-by-step guide, I’ll share our top tips on creating incident reports that will help you carry out effective investigations and make sure similar (or more serious) incidents don’t happen again.  I’ll also include our top incident report templates to get the job done.

    Table of Contents:

    • What is an incident report?
    • Incident report examples, templates and design tips
    • Simple incident report template
    • COVID-19 employee incident report templates
    • How to write an incident report

    the meaning of incident report

    All of the templates in this post can be customized using our easy online  incident report maker  tool. It’s free to sign up, many of our templates are free to use too.

    What is an incident report? 

    An incident report is a form to document all workplace illnesses, injuries, near misses and accidents. An incident report should be completed at the time an incident occurs no matter how minor an injury is.

    Here’s one example:

    the meaning of incident report

    Any illness or injury that impacts an employee’s ability to work must be noted. The specifics of what is required by law to be included in an incident report will vary depending on the federal or provincial legislation that affects your workplace.

    If you’re unsure, you can take a look at your government’s website for more details. In certain cases, there are exceptions that can exempt small businesses from complying with such legislation. 

    Employee Incident Report Template Venngage

    Incident report examples and design tips

    Here are some examples of types of incident reports to help you get started. I’ve also included some report design tips to help you present your information effectively. If you want to dig a bit deeper into the topic , here’s a comprehensive guide to general report design that I find handy.

    Incorporate your branding into your report design

    As with any document you create for your business, it’s good practice to incorporate your branding into your incident reports. (Psst– Venngage’s Brand Kit feature makes it easy to add your branding in just a click!) 

    Include your brand colors in your design. You can do this by using them in the report header, footer, sidebar and in any visuals. 

    You could use your brand colors in the background of your incident report:

    the meaning of incident report

    You may also want to include your logo, like in this incident report template : 

    the meaning of incident report

    Organize your information into sections using boxes

    To make your information as readable as possible, organize it into sections. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using boxes.

    For example, take a look at how these types of incident report templates use boxes to section off the information:

    the meaning of incident report

    This type of incident report example also uses rectangles to denote section headers:

    Simple Incident Report Template

    Color code the sections of your incident case report

    Colors aren’t just great for making your reports , presentations and charts more interesting to look at. You can also use color to organize sections of your report and to draw attention to key information. 

    For more tips on using color in your designs, read our guide on how to pick colors to communicate effectively .

    the meaning of incident report

    Add a visual header to your incident report

    As part of your company branding, you may want to add a visual header to your reports. For example, this incident case report template uses a neutral photo with a color filter to create a professional header:

    the meaning of incident report

    You can do this in Venngage by overlaying a photo on a color background and adjusting the opacity of the photo: 

    Image Opacity Venngage

    You can use the same effect for sidebars as well: 

    the meaning of incident report

    Make a mock form to offer new team members as an example

    If you’re transitioning in staff or something happens when the individual who owns incident reports is away, it’s very important that there is a process documented . That will ensure that if someone is put on the spot, they can fill in the incident report properly.

    It can also be helpful to add brief descriptions of the information in the type of incident report to include in each field. Take a look at how this incident report example offers some brief text to guide the person filling it out:

    the meaning of incident report

    Use icons to visualize concepts

    Icons are small, compact visuals that can be used to reinforce the information in your reports. You can also use them to draw attention to specific fields and important pieces of information. 

    For example, this incident case report template uses icons to indicate the purpose of each field:

    the meaning of incident report

    How to write an incident report 

    It’s important to establish a systematic method for investigating incidents.  

    It’s also equally important to have a report prepared that enables you to record every relevant aspect of the incident details–this is the essential first step in the incident reporting process.  

    After you’ve created your incident report form, you can: 

    • Begin your investigation with fact-finding 
    • And end your investigation with determining recommendations for preventing both an increase in the severity of the incident and the possibility of a recurrence.  

    To write any incident case reports, follow the basic format described below.

    the meaning of incident report

    1. Take immediate action 

    Employees of your organization should notify their manager or another member of the company’s leadership committee as soon as an incident occurs–regardless of the nature of the event (whether it be an accident, illness, injury or near miss).  

    That being said, there need to be communication channels clearly defined to promote the practice of employees coming forward in these situations and the importance of such.

    Once an incident has been reported, the member of leadership’s first responsibility is to ensure that appropriate treatment, if necessary, is being administered to those affected by the event.  

    On this note: if the hazard still exists, the manager that the event has been reported to must eliminate the hazard by controlling it. Each company should have a defined procedure for accomplishing this based on the nature of their work. 

    For example, if there was a spill that caused a fall. You would attend to the victim and promptly have the spill wiped up and identify the area as a hazard by using a sign.

    2. Collect the facts 

    Once the immediate action including the response to the event and eliminating the hazard from the environment has been conducted, it’s time to determine and record the facts related to the incident details. 

    the meaning of incident report

    9 facts related to the incident include: 

    1. the basics.

    Identify the specific location, time and date of the incident. This information is fundamental to the investigation and the most obvious information to collect. 

    2. The affected

    Collect details of those involved and/or affected by the incident. This would entail recording the name(s) of the individual(s) involved, their job title(s), the department(s) they operate in the manager(s) of those affected. 

    3. The witnesses

    Speak to any witnesses of the event to collect their perspectives of the event. Record their statements as detailed and accurate as possible in the form.  

    To ensure accuracy, it’s best practice to review your notes with the witness to ensure they agree with how the event is portrayed in the report. It’s also important to include the name(s) of any witnesses in the report in case any additional questioning is required. 

    4. The context

    Consider and document the events that occurred leading up to the incident. Ask:

    • What was the employee doing? 
    • Who asked them to complete the task? How was the employee feeling prior to the incident? …etc. 

    It is important to identify which factors were an outcome of the incident and which factors were present prior to the incident and could be a potential contributing factor to the incident occurring.

    5. The actions

    In the report, you must specify the actions of those involved at the time of the incident. What did the employee do that led to the incident? 

    For example, if an employee injured their back when lifting a box at work, it is important to determine how that employee lifted the box to decide if that contributed to the injury. If yes, then inquire if this employee was trained properly for this task and by who or what source.  

    6. The environment

    Identify and record environmental conditions that contributed to the event. Was there inadequate lighting? Was a piece of equipment not operating properly? Was the employees’ visibility obstructed by a glare or blind spot? Etc. 

    7. The injuries

    Record detailed descriptions of specific injuries and evaluate the severity of such in the report. This description should include part(s) of the body injured, nature and extent of injuries. 

    8. The treatment

    It is also important to document in the incident case report the type of treatment administered for the acknowledged injuries. This information is important to document in order to understand how the employee recovers when reviewing the specifics of the event.

    9. The damages

    Record an account of any damage to equipment, materials, etc that was affected by the incident. This will be helpful to refer back during the analysis of the event in order to consider both a corrective action plan and to determine what items will need to be repaired or replaced. 

    3. Analyze and reflect  

    Collecting and recording the facts related to the occurrence of the incident will aid in determining how the incident occurred. Analyzing the collected facts related to the incident will aid in determining why the incident occurred. 

    Analyzing and determining how and why the incident occurred is essential in order to develop an effective corrective action plan. 

    Potential causes for accidents or injuries that occurred in the workplace could include: 

    • Primary causes (for example, an unsalted ice patch on a set of stairs that caused a slip and fall). 
    • Secondary causes (for example, an employee not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, such as a hard helmet or eyewear).
    • Other contributing causes (for example: a burned-out light bulb in the area causing poor visibility). 

    the meaning of incident report

    4. Establish a corrective action plan 

    A corrective action plan would provide recommendations as a means to reduce the possibility of a continued issue and/or recurrence of the incident details. The recommendations would result from an effective analysis of the facts collected and documented in the incident report. 

    Elements of an effective corrective action plan could include: 

    • Occupational Health & Safety training for employees 
    • Preventative routine maintenance processes that ensure equipment is in proper working condition 
    • A review of job practices and procedures with a recommendation for changes to reduce the risk of incidents 
    • Conducting a job hazard analysis to determine if other potential hazards are associated with the task and/or environment and then training employees on these hazards based on the findings of the assessment 
    • Engineering, equipment or PPE changes/upgrades to ensure the task or the process of completing said task poses less risk

    the meaning of incident report

    Incident report examples

    Covid-19 employee incident report template.

    the meaning of incident report

    Blue healthcare employee critical incident report template

    the meaning of incident report

    Although being prepared for the unexpected is often difficult, preventative measures are the cornerstone of maintaining a happy and healthy working environment for yourself and your workforce.  

    Incident reports are not only a defining piece in any company’s incident response protocol, but they provide a means to avoid recurring mishaps and/or inspire change. 

    That’s why it is crucial to have a relevant and comprehensive incident report form prepared and on hand for any incident details that may arise. By adhering to your jurisdiction’s legislation and considering the four components prescribed above, you’ll be well-prepared to handle incidents effectively.

    The effect of responding to workplace incidents in a timely and detail-oriented manner will not only ensure a safe workplace but also: 

    • Reassure your employees that their employer is prepared to take the right steps in any situation 
    • Ensure all appropriate parties are fully informed of incidents 
    • Establish a record of incidents for future reference 
    • Protect both you/your company and your employees from lawsuits and disputes

    FAQs about incident reports

    What is the purpose of incident reporting.

    An incident report is used to describe an event that requires an investigation that needs to be documented.

    Types of incident reports

    • Accident Reports
    • Workplace Incident Report

    What are the 4 types of incidents?

    Commonly, incidents can be categorized into four main types:

    • Accidents: Involving unintended harm, damage or injury.
    • Near Misses: Situations where an accident could have occurred but was narrowly avoided.
    • Unsafe Conditions: Reports about hazardous or unsafe environments that need attention.
    • Unsafe Acts: Documenting incidents involving violations of safety procedures or rules.

    Incident reports generally cover a variety of situations and the specific types may vary based on context and industry. It’s important to note that these categories can overlap and the classification may differ depending on the reporting system or industry standards.

    What are the 5 elements of a good incident report ?

    A well-structured incident report typically includes the following five key elements:

    • Date, time and location: Provide specific details about when and where the incident occurred. This helps establish a timeline and context for understanding the event.
    • Description of the incident: Clearly describe what happened, including relevant details such as the sequence of events, the people involved and any contributing factors. Use objective language and avoid assumptions or opinions.
    • Witness information: Include names and contact information for any witnesses to the incident. Their accounts can provide valuable perspectives and corroborate details.
    • Action taken: Outline any immediate actions taken to address the incident, such as first aid, evacuation procedures or contacting emergency services. Documenting these responses is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of the initial response.
    • Recommendations for prevention: Offer suggestions on how similar incidents can be prevented in the future. This proactive approach demonstrates a commitment to improving safety and mitigating risks.

    More HR guides and templates:

    • 12 Powerful Performance Review Examples (+ Expert Tips By an HR Manager)
    • 17 Essential Human Resources Poster Templates

    1 st Reporting

    1st Reporting Logo

    The Types Of Incident Reports (With 19 Actionable Tips)

    Posted 19.05.22 by: Jeremy Shantz

    Updated November 14, 2023.

    Looking for types of incident reports ? You came to the right place. Incident reports are essential types of documents a business can produce. They record any event or occurrence that has the potential to disrupt normal business operations.

    There are many incident reports types and forms, so it is best to classify them under various categorical headings to make sense of the many choices.

    This article will explore the various forms of incident reports and discuss how to use them in multiple industries. We’ll also provide tips on how to write an effective incident report. But first, let’s take a closer look at what incident reports are and why they are essential.

    Table of Contents

    Common Incident and Prevention Report Types and Examples

    The following tables show examples of commonly used incident (and incident prevention) reports found in various popular industries.

    What Is An Incident Report?

    What Is An Incident Report? The answers are at

    An incident report is a document that records any event or occurrence that has the potential to disrupt normal business operations. They provide a clear and concise summary of the event, including the cause, impact, and resolution. You can use incident reports to help prevent future incidents from happening and improve safety and security procedures.

    There are several types of incident reports, each of which finds use in various industries. Some of the most common types of incident reports include:

    • Accident report
    • Hazard report
    • Near miss report
    • Security incident report
    • Fires incident report

    Each type of incident report serves a specific purpose and provides essential information for businesses and organizations. Let’s take a closer look.

    The Accident Report

    An accident report is a document filled out following an accident. The report usually contains detailed information about the accident, such as what happened, who was involved, and the extent of any injuries.

    Read about Incident Reports Vs. Accident Reports here.

    The Hazard Report

    A hazard report is a document completed following an incident that has the potential to cause harm. The report usually contains detailed information about the incident, such as what happened, who was involved, and the extent of any potential injuries or damage to property or equipment.

    See also the Job Hazard Analysis Checklist.

    The Near-Miss Report

    A Near-Miss Report is a specific type of incident report used in industries with a potential for harm or injury. Managers use it to document any situation that could have resulted in an accident (but did not). Near-miss reports can identify potential hazards and prevent accidents from happening in the future.

    The Security Incident Report

    A security incident report is a document that records any security-related incidents that have occurred in a business. Security incidents can include anything from theft to a cyber-attack. The security incident report aims to provide an overview of the incident, including what happened when it happened, and how it was resolved.

    See also, Cyber-Security Incident Response

    You should fill out the security incident report as soon as possible after the incident occurs. It allows for a more accurate description of the incident and can help prevent further damage.

    Some critical information that you should include in a security incident report:

    • The date and time of the incident
    • The nature of the incident
    • How the incident was resolved
    • The extent of any damage caused

    The Fire Incident Report

    Fire Incident Reports are used to report a fire-related incident. This document may be used by fire departments, insurance companies, and other organizations to record information about the incident.

    The Fire Incident Report may include details such as the date and time of the fire, the location of the fire, the type of fire, and the cause of the fire.

    Features of an Incident Report

    “ An incident report is a document that records an incident or event. It usually includes the who, what, when, where, and how of the event. “ J.W.Shantz – Incident Report Specialist

    In addition, it may also have photos, videos, or other evidence related to the event. Incident reports are used to document and track incidents, which you can then use to improve safety and security.

    There are several key features of an effective incident report:

    • It should be concise and easy to read.
    • It should include all the relevant information about the incident.
    • It should be accurate and unbiased.
    • It should be written clearly and concisely.
    • It should be filed promptly after the incident occurs.
    • You should include resolutions taken to resolve the incident.
    • In your report, including further actions required to prevent other incidents is always wise.

    General Types of Incident Reports

    There are five general types of incident reports, each concerned with its respective subject matter.

    A person type of incident report is a document that records any incidents or accidents involving people. The report usually contains detailed information about the incident, such as what happened, who was involved, and the extent of any injuries.

    Vehicle or Equipment

    An equipment type of incident report is a document that records any incidents or accidents involving equipment. The report usually contains detailed information about the incident, such as what happened, who was involved, and the extent of any damage to vehicles or equipment.

    A facility-type of incident report is a document that records any incidents or accidents involving a facility. The report usually contains detailed information about the incident, such as what happened, who was involved, and the extent of any injuries or damage to property.

    A property type of incident report is a document that records any incidents or accidents involving the property. The report usually contains detailed information about the incident, such as what happened, who was involved, and the extent of any injuries or damage to property.

    Industry Verticals And The Types of Incident (and Other) Reports Used


    Construction industry incident reports by

    • New Construction – Residential
    • New Construction – Commercial
    • New Construction – Industrial
    • Renovations and Additions

    Types of Incident Reports in Construction

    • Site safety incident report
    • Near miss incident report
    • First aid incident report
    • Vehicle accident report
    • Dangerous occurrence report
    • Hazardous materials release incident report .

    See our incident report template , o r try our incident reporting app .

    Construction Industry Tips

    If working on remote construction sites, use a mobile reporting application to notify you of emergencies.

    Observing the utmost safety in construction is imperative, given the high rate of incidents within the industry. In 2021, according to OSHA , the highest rate of infractions in the US involved fall protection standards within the construction industry.

    Energy Sector

    Energy sector incident reports by

    • Power Generation
    • Power Distribution

    Types of Incident Reports in Energy

    Every company has its own set of procedures, but all incident reports in the energy sector have one goal: to help prevent future incidents. When it comes to the types of incident reports, the energy sector primarily uses two classes:

    Operational Incident Report: Also known as an event report, an operational incident report is used to document any abnormal event that could affect safety, environment, or production. These types of reports are usually completed by operations personnel.

    Investigative Incident Report: An investigative incident report is used when a potential root cause for an operational incident. These reports are usually completed by investigators or a team assigned by the company.

    Energy Sector Industry Tips

    – In the event of an incident, always complete an operational incident report (event report) relative to the incident type.

    – If there is a potential root cause for an operational incident, complete an investigative incident report such as a root cause analysis.

    Healthcare industry incident reports by

    • Medical Clinics
    • Medical Laboratories

    Types of Incident Reports in Healthcare

    • Patient falls
    • Patient elopement
    • Patient abuse or neglect
    • Medication error
    • Equipment failure

    See our incident report template , or try our incident reporting app .

    Healthcare Industry Tips

    1. Always be specific and detailed when writing an incident report. It will make it easier for investigators to understand what happened and how to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

    2. Make sure to include information about the patient, such as their name, date of birth, and other essential identifiers. It will help ensure that the patient is correctly identified and tracked.


    Manufacturing industry incident reports by

    • Manufacturing Operations
    • Quality Control Divisions
    • Staff Procedure Tracking

    Types of Incident Reports in Manufacturing

    • Quality incident report
    • Production incident report
    • Maintenance incident report
    • Environmental incident report
    • Safety incident report
    • Health and safety incident report
    • Fire and explosion incident report
    • Hazardous materials release incident report
    • Emergency shutdown procedures deviations reports
    • Chemical reaction hazard reports
    • Equipment malfunction or failure reports

    Manufacturing Industry Tips

    1. Always fill out an incident report form whenever an incident occurs, even if it seems minor. It will help ensure that all necessary information is collected, even if the incident becomes more severe in nature.

    2. If possible, try to take pictures or videos of the incident scene and any damage done. It can help provide accurate and detailed information when filling out the report.


    Municipal incident reports by

    • Road Maintenance
    • Facility Maintenance
    • Landscape and Grounds Care
    • Facility Incident Management
    • Waste Management

    Types of Incident Reports in Municipalities

    • Traffic accident report
    • Police incident report
    • Fire incident report
    • Hazardous materials incident report
    • Environmental Accident Report

    See our incident report template here or try our incident reporting app here .

    Municipality Tips

    • Maintain training tracking to ensure all staff and contractors are up to standard. Use a tracking solution like a custom form in 1st Reporting to maintain a training database.
    • Use a customizable reporting application for all of your reporting needs. Using a single, all-in-one solution like 1st Reporting ensures you don’t have to hunt to get your information. Retrieval is a snap with a cloud-based and secure solution like 1st.

    Oil and Gas

    Oil, Gas, and Natural Resource industries incident reports by

    • Natural Gas Mining, Processing, and Distribution
    • Oil Field Maintenance
    • Tar Sands Processing

    Types of Incident Reports in Oil and Gas

    • Accident Report
    • Near-Miss Report
    • Hazardous Occurrence Report (HOR)
    • Dangerous Occurrence Report (DOR)
    • Security Incidents Report
    • Lost Time Incident report
    • Equipment Inspection Form

    See our incident report template here , or try our incident reporting app here .

    Oil and Gas Industry Tips

    • Stress the importance of vehicular safety. Due to the remote site nature of the oil industry, extensive travel is typically required to and from the site. According to OSHA , approximately 4 out of 10 fatalities in the industry occur due to highway vehicle accidents.
    • Don’t neglect training about being caught in, under, or between equipment. This type of accident is a significant cause of fatalities in the Oil industry. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics , the oil industry lost 104 brave souls in 2019 and 44 in 2020.

    Security industry incident reports by

    • Security Firms

    Types of Incident Reports in Security

    • Crime reports: These types of incident reports are used to document criminal activity. They can be used by law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes.
    • Accident reports: These types of incident reports are used to document accidents. They can be used by insurance companies to determine who is at fault and to pay for damages.
    • Safety reports: These incident reports are used to document safety hazards. Safety committees can use them to improve workplace safety.
    • Security reports: These incident reports are used to document security breaches. Security firms can use them to improve security.

    Security Industry Tips

    • Utilization of a robust mobile reporting platform like 1st Reporting helps security and police personnel efficiently retrieve and complete the appropriate paperwork. Including an offline mode, the app even works when out of range of an internet signal, saving the data locally until a signal becomes available to upload to the secure cloud servers.
    • Take advantage of the free demo of the 1st Reporting platform for your team.

    Staffing industry incident reports by

    • Tracking Daily Hours
    • Tracking Safety
    • Tracking Incidents

    Types of Incident Reports in Staffing

    • Team member injury report
    • Team member illness report
    • Team member’s daily log

    Staffing Industry Tips

    • Ensure that all staff are familiar with incident reports and their uses.
    • Use a mobile reporting platform like 1st Reporting to make reporting easy and efficient. A robust reporting platform like 1st Reporting allows for incident trend analysis data quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, the mobile form automation capabilities mean that dynamically controlled forms are here and no longer a thing of the past.


    Transportation industry incident reports by

    • Public Transit

    See our incident report templates or try our incident reporting app .

    Types of Incident Reports in Transportation

    • Safety reports: These incident reports are used to document safety hazards. Safety committees can use them to improve workplace safety. 

    Industry Tips

    1. Aircraft and railway accidents are often investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board ( NTSB ) in the United States. Familiarize yourself with their guidelines for reporting accidents and incidents.

    2. Always use the same incident reporting system, preferably a mobile app like 1st Reporting, to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of your reports.

    Utilities Industry Incident Report Types by

    • Natural Gas
    • Waste Removal

    Types of Incident Reports in Utilities

    • Hazardous material release incident report
    • Ensure all personnel are aware of the risks. Waste management is a vital aspect of public utilities and is even a consideration of the EPA during a homeland security crisis. Therefore, losing personnel to injury or death is incomprehensible. Hazard awareness training is critical to all utilities and should never be avoided.
    • Complete refresher training regularly. Typically companies that schedule mandatory safety refresher training are better suited to weather the storm.

    Tips for Writing an Incident Report

    Tips for Writing an Incident Report by

    Include as Many Details as Possible

    It is essential to include as many details as possible in the report to record the events. It will help to identify any patterns or trends that may be occurring. Be sure to include the date, time, and location of the incident and a description of what happened.

    Use clear and concise language.

    When writing the report, be sure to use clear and concise language. It will help to ensure that the information is easy to understand. Avoid jargon or technical terms that others who read the report may not be familiar with.

    Be objective

    It is essential to be objective when writing the report. You should avoid including any personal opinions or biases in the report. Stick to the facts and provide any necessary details without adding your interpretation of events.

    Keep it brief

    While it is essential to include all relevant information in the report, you should keep it brief. It will help to prevent the report from becoming too long or confusing. Include only the essential information and leave out any unnecessary details.

    Use a template

    There are many templates available that can be used to write an incident report. Using a template can help to ensure that all of the necessary information finds its way into the report and that it is formatted correctly.

    Review the report

    Once you have written the report, review it for errors or omissions. It will help to ensure that the report is accurate and complete. If you are unsure about anything, ask someone else to read the report before submitting it.

    Use a Dedicated Reporting Application Like 1st Reporting.

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    the meaning of incident report

    The Ultimate Guide to the Importance of Incident Reporting

    26 January 2023 - Evotix

    Incident reporting is a crucial step for ensuring health and safety in the workplace. Regardless of accident severity, every little detail should be reported – otherwise, it might happen again on a much larger scale. OSHA requires that businesses with more than 10 employees keep a record of workplace incidents, but many senior managers still don’t know how to accurately record them.   

    Below we’ll outline incident reporting that will lead to a safe and secure workplace.    

    What is incident reporting?     

    Incident reporting is the action of recording an incident such as an injury or damage to equipment or property. Incident reporting is often documented on an incident reporting form – which is completed by collecting as much data as possible about the incident that took place. It’s important to note that this data must comprise cold, hard facts rather than fluffy opinions or biased statements about what happened.    

    The form should also include evidence of the incident (photos, video footage or illustrations) as well as signatures from the people impacted or witnesses to further provide legitimacy.    

    Recording detailed information in this way protects organizations when it comes to inspections and insurance claims, and also helps prevent the incident from repeating itself again.    

    Once an incident report is filled out, an investigation into the incident is conducted. This is then followed by the roll-out of preventative safety measures or staff training to ensure similar incidents don’t occur in future. Then, staff training and further awareness linked to the incident is carried out.   

    Importance of incident reporting     

    We’ve outlined the top five reasons for reporting incidents below:    

    1. Preventing even more serious incidents from occurring   

    By proactively reporting incidents and near misses, companies can put mechanisms in place to mitigate these incidents before they endanger or harm another employee. Such strategies may include reviewing SIF (serious, injury and fatality) incidents to ensure they’re reduced.    

    2. Enhancing understanding of risks in the workplace  

    Regular reporting of incidents can ensure that an organization stays on top of safety risks every day. By encouraging all workers - whether on the factory floor or senior management - to report incidents across the spaces they’re working in, all areas of the workplace are covered. This helps cultivate a collective understanding of the diverse risks that can appear across different areas of the business.  

    3. Ensuring compliance with regulations

    Reporting of incidents also helps to ensure you’re staying compliant with the regulations. Organizations without a sufficient incident reporting mechanism risk being penalized.   

    In the US, OSHA requires that employers report fatalities within 8 hours , and severe injuries including in-patient hospitalization, amputation or eye loss within 24 hours. The consequences of not reporting depend on the seriousness of the incident, but penalties can range from fines imposed on the business , to up to two years imprisonment for the person (or people) responsible for the incident.     

    Incidentally, by regularly reporting these incidents, you’ll be able to get a better grasp on the key health and safety challenges facing your workforce and where to focus your attention.  

    4. Saving time, money and resources

    Besides reputational damage, companies that fail to adequately report accidents stand to lose financially, too. The higher the incident rate, the more costs incurred for the business – with the total cost of workplace injuries costing US businesses $163.9 billion in 2020. This figure includes lost productivity due to time injured employees had to spend off work.     

    Reporting incidents more effectively is one way to curb these costs. According to USI , an improved risk management approach can reduce companies' liability premiums by up to 30%. 

    5. Enabling active engagement of health and safety

    Proactive reporting helps organizations create a culture of engagement and further promotion of all things health and safety. The benefits of creating a positive culture are plentiful, including, of course, the reduction of actual incidents. Having well-trained employees who are knowledgeable on the risks in their workplace also decreases the chance of productivity being stalled should an incident occur, as they’ll know how to handle various situations.     

    Many businesses see a boost in overall employee morale. Feeling safe and secure at work is likely to alleviate stress, meaning employees are able to carry out their duties more effectively. Having a good safety record is also great for your reputation, giving you a bigger pool of qualified candidates to recruit, as well as making your existing employees more likely to stick around.    

    Creating a culture of reporting has the impact of continuously promoting active engagement around an organization. As employees share best practices and learn from each other’s experiences, they can help boost their own well-being through a greater understanding of incidents and how to prevent them. A positive reporting mindset helps establish a workplace of camaraderie, understanding and partnerships – decreasing the risk of employees developing mental health problems as a result of feeling unsafe or isolated at work.   

    Types of incidents that require reporting      

    There are several types of incidents that companies need to keep an eye out for. The most common types of incidents are listed below: 

    Near misses    

    A near miss is an incident that, while not actually causing injury, has the potential to cause harm. Research has shown that for every 90 near-miss incidents that take place, an accident will occur.    

    Slips, trips and falls    

    One of the “Fatal Four” leading causes of construction deaths (alongside being struck by equipment and electrocutions), are falls that often occur as a result of bad lighting, slanted flooring, cables and liquid spillages. According to the CDC , such incidents account for 26% of all nonfatal injuries in American workplaces.    


    Electrocutions are also a common incident to watch for. While the Electrical Safety Foundation International noted a 24% decrease in fatal electrical injuries over 2020, nonfatal electrical injuries rose by 17% over the same period – suggesting that more businesses need to take additional precautions to protect their employees from electrical hazards.       


    These types of injuries occur when a worker is hit by an object or piece of equipment that’s falling, rolling, sliding, slipping or swinging – such as books on a shelf or a moving car. Alongside electrocutions, falls and getting caught between objects, struck-by-object incidents account for 60% of all construction-related deaths.    

    When should an incident be reported?     

      Whether it’s a fatal incident or just a near miss, incidents should be reported as close to the actual event occurring as possible. Many employers have introduced strict time frames for the reporting of workplace incidents so they can ensure efficient reporting. As mentioned above, OSHA has placed time limits on businesses for the reporting of fatalities within 8 hours and 24 hours for serious injuries.   

    Incident report example template      

    When writing up an incident report, the key elements below should be included:     

    1. Incident type (a SIF, near miss, adverse event or no harm event)   

    2. Where the incident took place (specific location within facility)    

    3. Date of incident    

    4. Time of incident    

    5. Description of the injury/damage incurred    

    6. Contact information of parties involved and witnesses    

    7. Any pictures or video footage of the incident/property damage    

    8. In-depth description of the incident  

    How the incident occurred

    Results of incident  

    Safety equipment involved  

    Person involved statement  

    Witness statement  

    Relevant notes   

    9. Treatment of the injury    

    10. Cleaning up of associated area    

    11. Analysis of the incident

    Cause of incident    

    Health and safety breaches    

    Steps to remove incident    

     12. Prevention strategies for any similar risk in future     

    How to effectively manage incidents     

    There’s no doubt that effective incident reporting is a key link in the chain when it comes to promoting a safe workplace. The only issue is that many organizations rely on manual processes – stunting their ability to accurately record and rapidly respond to incidents.    

    If you’re serious about enacting real change that’ll make your workplace safer and healthier, we suggest using software that will help streamline the process. Using a solution that also includes a mobile app to enable employees to report on any device, anytime, anywhere is critical for immediate incident reporting, engagement and success.

    A solution that has pre-configured template builders as outlined above enables organizations to create customizable forms that fit their specific processes. Additionally, software gives you the ability to track actions to completion and provides access to dashboards that’ll enable you to easily spot trends and prevent recurrences of incidents.    

      Having a robust incident reporting system and communication platform that promotes the importance of incident reporting are vital pieces of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining health and safety in the workplace. They not only ensure more regular reporting of incidents, but also assure employees that you’re doing everything you can to keep them out of harm’s way while fulfilling their duties – promoting an all-round happier and more productive workplace.    

    To learn more about real life scenarios around incident management, check out our podcast, Two Bald Guys Talking Safety. Langdon and Jules discuss “ If Workplace Safety Incident Investigations Were Left to Magnum PI ” in episode 208 that moves past the importance of incident management and how to spot hazards to incident investigations, arguably the most important part of incident management.

    Start Streaming!


    the meaning of incident report

    What Is Safety Incident Management and Why Does It Matter?

    14 February 2023 - Evotix

    Today, workplace accidents still occur all too frequently. In North America alone, 2022 saw 2.6 million reported workplace accidents and illnesses. There are many reasons for workplace incidents to..

    the meaning of incident report

    What Is Incident Management Software?

    27 June 2023 - Evotix

    When it comes to health and safety, incidents are an unfortunate aspect of workforce management that must be managed, mitigated and learned from. But what precisely does “incident management” entail,..

    the meaning of incident report

    CSRD and the Future of ESG Disclosure: Empowering European Corporations

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    On July 31, 2023, The European Commission made a significant stride toward fulfilling the goals of the European Green Deal by officially embracing the European Sustainability Reporting Standards..

    [Trustpilot reviews]

    What is Incident Report? - A complete guide

    An incident report is a document that accurately provides the details of an incident; especially one that causes damages, injury or death.

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    the meaning of incident report

    How your company chooses to address a crisis situation, especially when the incident is happening is vital. Major accidents like the sinking of the Titanic, BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, The Chernobyl disaster  have time and again reminded us how important it is to have guidelines in place for safety adherence.

    Imagine yourself in a situation where your workspace was last renovated 10 years ago. You walk into your office on a bright and sunny morning and encounter a huge sound explosion and your AC Unit stops working. Luckily you are unharmed, but this is an incident to be reported and acted upon. For all you know, there may be some wiring that has gone bad and if the incident is not reported, it may lead to a big accident in the near future causing both physical damage to the building and the people working there. 

    What is an Incident Report?

    An incident report is a tool that documents an episode which may or may not have caused injury to somebody or may or may not have damaged a company asset. The tool is used to record details like:

    • Injuries and accidents involving humans
    • Near missed incidents
    • Property and equipment damage
    • Health and safety issues
    • Security breach at workplace
    •  Inappropriate behaviour/misconduct in work environment

    The report documents in detail the snapshot of events that might or might not have led to a hazardous incident. These incidents can further be classified into 5 categories as listed below: 

    • Fatal: This refers to occurrences which may cause death by accidents.  (outbreak, disease, calamity, disasters). 
    • Serious accidents : Incidents causing serious mental, psychological or physical injury causing disability or non-disability leading to long-term hospitalization.
    • Minor accidents: Accidents that don't require hospitalization and are minor in nature such as, scratches, wounds or bruises, minor burns. 
    • Near misses: Any incidents causing “disruption of services” without any other accidents is a near miss. 
    • Unsafe acts: All other acts that don’t adhere to the safety norms like sexual misconduct, manipulation of facts, misrepresentation of information fall under unsafe acts. 

    An incident report can be used by an employee to report an incident he/she has witnessed, an authority to create an incident report, or an internal department within the organization to educate employees and make them aware of the risk associated with the said incident.

    Why is incident reporting important?

    An incident report is extremely important when investigating and analyzing a particular occurence/episode. It contains vital information like the root cause of any accident. This can help in formulating corrective actions to avoid any such mishap in the future. It also helps identify potential risk areas and hazards that are beyond control at a worksite. 

    All the frontline workers and the management need to understand that reporting an incident can save many lives. It can improve the overall efficiency, minimize risks, avert unpleasant situations  and overall promote a ‘safety culture’ within the organization. 

    It makes the organization aware of the threats

    When the workforce is aware of the threats, they are reminded of the possible hazards of doing a certain thing. It raises the organizations response time for a certain hazard if that occurs, as there is already an action plan in place to manage the risk. Employees are more aware to not repeat a certain mistake that has already been reported.

    Take an example of a salon who had an incident related to steamer when the attendant left the customer alone with the steamer on. When the incident is highlighted to all the employees and organisation. The organisation makes it mandatory for the attendant to be around the steamer and not leave the customer alone. Also, strict timing to be followed when using the steamer. The organisation is reminded of the checkpoints that need to be in place and the employees are aware of the behaviour/events that are harmful for them and others.

    Having a proper communication channel for incident reporting is a must. If not followed it can result in bigger threats. 

    Benefits of an Incident Report

    Adapting incident reporting as a practice can help organizations create a safe and healthy work environment and culture. Most importantly it can facilitate:

    • Immediate reinforcement of actions.
    • Help the organization improve its processes on a continuous basis.
    • Communicating employees about potential hazards and threats and creating awareness among them.

    Scope of improvement

    Any bad occurrence is a reminder for the organization that something is not right at the workplace. It is said, knowing the problem is half the solution. Reporting smaller issues and as many unsafe acts helps to reduce the probability of fatal accidents. Such smaller issues provide the management with the valuable data to improve the overall working conditions. Once the root-cause is in place management can brainstorm and work to improve the process or supply chain or working conditions. 

    More data to analyse and improve the process

    ‍ Quantitative analysis here is reliant not just on the amount of observation but also the number of times that it can be done. The more the better as it helps secure greater insights on human errors, system failures or regulatory weaknesses. 

    Reporting is cheaper than the costs of a major incident

    ‍ The cost of an accident ranges from thousands to tens of thousands of times more than the cost of mitigating the risk at the initial stage. Be it a small organisation with few employees to more than ten thousand, the cost of maintaining a system to track a report is much lesser than an actual accident which might involve one or many lives. 

    Builds a culture of safety and standardised process throughout the organisation

    ‍ Each organisational culture is made of their values and thoughts. The culture of safety is the best that one can give to the employees. It gains the trust of the employees and the customers using the services or products of such a company.

    What all should be included in an incident report?

    • General information like specific location, time and date of the incident. This will be a valuable piece of information if further investigation is needed. 
    • Setting or environment  implies the  environmental conditions that may have contributed to the incident. 
    • Affected people implies the people involved, their title or position, and their department.
    • Injuries and the severity comprise the type of injury, its severity, and body parts that were injured.
    • Witnesses comprise statements of people present during the incident.
    • Administered treatment gives information about the initial treatment, aid, or any medication administered  to the affected individuals. 
    • Property and equipment damages to certain assets, materials, facilities, and equipment that were damaged during the incident. 
    • Events include the sequence of actions that led to the incident. Also, describe in detail why it turned out to be an incident.

    Basic Structure of an Incident Report:

    The information layout of the report will vary because of its dependency on multiple factors. However, as a rule the person writing the report should try and write the report as a third person . This implies that the tone of the report should be ‘narrative’ . The report should be objective and comprise only facts. It should be devoid of any personal opinion and biases. ‍

    1. Introduction & Body

    ‍ It is here that you mention all the details of the incident in a detailed manner. Ensure that you list out all the details pertaining to the incident from start to finish in a chronological manner. Mention the people involved, time and place, and how the incident happened clearly over here.

    The introduction part of the report should talk about details like - 

    Who all were involved in the incident? The report should clearly mention the names, designation and department of all the people involved. In case an outside party is involved it is imperative to mention the person’s role. For example, a guest/client/vendor etc. 

    Give a brief summary of the incident. Keep it short and crisp in the introduction, for example: The hand dryer in the lady’s restroom malfunctioned. However, no one was hurt as the restroom was empty. 

    When did the incident occur? Clearly mention the date and time of when the incident happened. If you are not aware of the exact time, please do mention the tentative time. Where did the incident occur? Give details of the exact location, for example: Ladies restroom, 5th Floor, B Wing, XYZ Arcade.

    2. Findings and Conclusion

    ‍ Make a note of all your findings about the incident and mention if the cause of the incident has been resolved or not. If the issue is still to be resolved, mention what corrective actions have been planned for its resolution. Also, mention the date/deadline by when everything will be brought to a closure. ‍

    ‍ 3.Signing Off

    ‍ The sign off on the report is usually done by two people, the incident report writer and the reviewer. It must be ensured that the name and role of both are clearly mentioned and signatures of both the individuals are present. This is extremely important for future verification, audits and recordkeeping.

    We are now aware of the basic structure of an incident report. Let us now look at some sample incident report formats. These formats are used for three most commonly occurring workplace accidents:

    Accident and time lost report

    • Exposure incident report
    • First-Aid incident report 

    You can use it as guides or reference points to effectively write an incident report.

    This type of report is usually in a form format, where all the vital information regarding the incident is mentioned in columns on the form. This format of reporting is commonly used for an incident like reporting a person’s accident.

    the meaning of incident report

    The report must include all the information pertaining to the incident. The following details must be present in the report:

    • Nature of the incident (injury, death, near miss, property damage, theft)
    • Location where the incident occurred (complete address)
    • Date and time when the incident happened
    • Names of all those who have been impacted
    • Name of the immediate supervisors of all those impacted
    • Detailed statement of each person attached as annexures 
    • Names of witness if any
    • Statement of all the witnesses as annexures
    • Background or context setting of the event
    • Present state of the people who were harmed/impacted by the incident
    • On what basis did the decision makers take a call on whether to call the emergency services or not
    • Details of any injuries that might have happened. If yes, the severity of the injury needs to be mentioned
    • Has the organization made available the required treatment to those affected?
    • Photos of the place before and after the incident. If possible, also attach photos of the place when the incident actually happened
    • List down all the hazards that have been identified as a result of this event
    • Findings of the investigating team and the reason why the incident happened in the first place

    Given below is an example of an incident report narrative describing a fall resulting in a fracture:

    “On a Saturday morning, March 13, 2021, at 8 a.m. in a hotel, located at 6th Avenue, New York, one of the store room workers (Adam Smith) slipped and fell down while carrying two big sacks of potatoes weighing approx 100 lbs. The root cause is believed to be the absence of a hand cart on-site. Instead of requesting one of his colleagues to get a hand cart, Adam attempted to carry the load on his back to save time.  ‍ When Adam slipped and fell down under the weight of the sack, his colleagues and his supervisor (George Underwood) immediately rushed to help. George suspected that Adam’s wrist and foot had been fractured, so he decided to call 911. ‍ As per Adam, he felt an excruciating pain in his legs and back due to the heavy weight of the sacks. As a result, he lost balance and tripped over. ‍ His colleagues, Chris and Gayle testified that they felt Adam was getting uncomfortable. However, before they could do anything to help him, the damage had already been done. Please refer to the attached witness statements for more information. Adam was taken to the hospital and it was confirmed that his right foot and wrist were fractured. He will not be able to attend to his duties for at least 5 weeks. ‍ The supervisor is currently working with Max from the administration team to assess the working conditions in the store-room. They are also taking a stock of the number of hand carts and their condition. The floor plan of the store room is also being reviewed.”

    As you can see, the narrative describes all the important events of the accident and also mentions the names and roles of all involved clearly.

    Exposure Incident Report

    Incidents happening due to exposure to a pathogen or dangerous chemicals can occur if your workplace is a research lab, hospital, hotel etc. It is extremely important to make an incident report in such a scenario. All the details required for ``Accident and Time Lost” must be recorded. In addition, following details related to the exposure must also be present in the report:

    • Mention the chemical/pathogen/carcinogen. Also elaborate on the quantity, potency. Clearly mention about the description on the labels and safety data sheets 
    • Monitoring data of exposure, if any
    • Details of any contaminated material or asset
    • Description of the body part/parts exposed, area of exposure (size and volume) and length of exposure (time period)
    • Visible symptoms after exposure, severity of symptoms
    • Photographs of description labels of the substance to which the victim was exposed

    Given below is an example of an incident report narrative describing an exposure because of inhalation:

    “Stephanie Cooper, a janitor working at a hotel in New York City, was exposed to poisonous fumes on April 15, 2021, between 7:30 am to 8:00 am. She was cleaning the staff toilets along with her colleague Penny Stewart, who was cleaning the wash basins and mopping the floors outside. Stephanie cleaned the first two washrooms, however, the moment she entered the third washroom she felt uneasy and breathless. She also felt slight burning in her chest and was about to collapse. She immediately came out and sat on the bench. Penny informed the floor supervisor Leonard Marx, that Stephanie was unwell. However, Penny did not exhibit any such symptoms. The supervisor examined the site and felt a similar stench. He also noticed that the exhaust fan and window were closed and hence there was no ventilation in the room. Leonard drove Stephanie to the hospital. She was coughing and complaining of chest pain on the way to the hospital. Her complete medical report is awaited and she has been hospitalised for two days. Medical report will be attached once we receive the same. In later investigation, Penny revealed that Stephanie’s toilet cleaning agent was almost over and not enough to clean all the four washrooms, so she had mixed a little floor cleaning agent to finish the job. Please refer to the attached report for complete details. Leonard is reviewing all the cleaning agent stock and refilling schedules along with his supervisor David Hill.”

    The narrative for the First-aid incident report also needs to be written on similar lines. The objective of writing an incident report is to improve safety in the work environment. 

    These samples exhibit that by recording true facts, you foster a better employer-employee relationship and ensure a safe working culture. 

    the meaning of incident report

    • Incident Report: Examples, Form Templates & Writing Guide


    The saying, “accidents are bound to happen” is true for every individual and organization. In fact, it is normal to encounter incidents that have a far-reaching effect on productivity and when this happens, such an event should be accurately documented in an incident report.

    An incident report, therefore, is the first step any individual or organization should take upon the occurrence of any unforeseen event that affects its output while putting other persons at risk. In this article, we will highlight the different features of an incident report and show you how to create an incident report form on Formplus . 

    What is an Incident Report?

    An incident report is a document that accurately provides the details of an incident; especially one that causes damages, injury, or death. It helps an organization to accurately profile the different events leading to such an incident and the aftermath(s) of this occurrence. 

    It is also referred to as an accident report because it typically outlines information relating to an accident or injury. However, an incident report can also contain information about near misses or other unusual or hazardous happenings in different contexts. 

    Features of an Incident Report  

    An incident report is defined by the following features:

    • Detailed Description : It narrates all the events surrounding the incident in question in their exact manner of occurrence. An incident report may include the following information: 
    • The circumstances surrounding the incident.
    • Date, time, and location of the incident.
    • The details on witnesses and victims, if any.
    • Reactionary measures put in place.
    • The aftermath of the incident.
    • Corrective actions are taken to reduce the likelihood of another incident. 

    The more specific the incident report is, the more useful it will be in informing corrective decisions. 

    • Facts : In an incident report, only the facts are stated. In this document, the reporter is not expected to communicate his or her feelings or opinions about the incident as this can distort the accuracy of the report and distract the organization from the details of the event. 
    • Objectivity : An incident report must be written in an objective manner that is devoid of any emotions; regardless of the nature of the incident. The reporter must take extra care to avoid sentiments that can get in the way of an objective presentation of the details of the incident. 
    • Sequence: An incident report presents events chronologically, that is, in their sequence of occurrence. The details must be organized in a logical manner that is easy to read, navigate and understand, and you are free to use subheadings and bullet points where applicable. 
    • Witness Statements : When necessary, include first-hand information provided by witnesses about the incident. This can be in the form of direct statements made by the witnesses and they should be placed within quotation marks while you also provide information that explains the witnesses’ positions.
    • Authorization: An incident report must be formally authorized by the reporter and other supervisor officers in the organization. This validates the information provided and it is important for the supervisory officer to proofread the information provided before appending his or her signature on the document. 

    Types of Incident Reports

    1. workplace incident report  .

    A workplace incident report is a form that is used to profile physical occurrences that impact an employee’s productivity in the workplace. It includes workplace injuries, near misses, and accidents that have a negative impact on the employee (s) and the organization, in general. 

    Usually, labor laws specify the kind of information that should be spelled out in a workplace incident report. This type of incident report may also highlight an employee’s concerns with an organization’s safety practices, security breaches, and workplace conduct. 

    Examples of workplace incident reports include:

    • A report about sexual harassment or assault in the workplace.
    • A report about a fire incident that occurred within the office premises. 

    2. Accident Report  

    An accident report is a type of incident report that contains information about an accident or emergency that may be fatal, ghastly, or minor. An accident report is not restricted to the workplace as it can also be filed by law enforcement agents and safety officers. 

    It is also referred to as an accident investigation report because it highlights all the probable causative factors that are responsible for the accident. It also helps the concerned parties to determine the extent of the damage and to support or refute insurance claims. 

    Examples of accident reports include:

    • A report on a fatal plane crash.
    • A report of an explosion on an organization’s premises.

    3. Security/Police Incident Report . 

    A police incident report is a type of incident report that is used to keep track of the thefts/losses and any other types of security events that take place within specific premises. This report is important because it helps an organization keep track of security breaches and safety measures.

    A security or police incident report is usually filed by the security personnel in charge of the premises where the security breach took place. It can also be filed in cases of computer system breaches, unauthorized access to an organization’s database, and compromised user accounts. 

    Examples of safety and security incident report include:

    • A report of property theft in an organization.
    • A report on a burglary attempt in a neighborhood. 

    Here are 7 Incident Report Form Template

    1. incident report form.

    Use this incident report form template to swiftly collect information about accidents and injuries as they occur. The Formplus incident report form will help your organization to easily track and record any unfortunate incidents and this information can prove useful in forestalling such an occurrence in the future. 

    This form allows you to collect useful information about the victim, the location of the incident, and the nature of the incident. You can edit it in the form builder by adding more form fields to enable you to collect more information such as the signature of the reporter and the time of the report. 

    2. Sexual Harassment Complaint Form

    Allow your employees and clients to easily report any cases of sexual harassment for immediate investigation and redress using this sexual harassment complaint form . This form template enables victims of sexual harassment to inform the appropriate authorities about sexual abuse and sexual assault in the workplace.

    With multiple form sharing options, Formplus allows you to easily share this sexual harassment form with your employees and the general public. You can embed the form on your organization’s website and you can also share it with your official social media pages through the direct sharing buttons.

    3. Workplace Harassment Form

    The Formplus workplace harassment form allows your employees to file a formal complaint about workplace harassment. This workplace harassment form template will help you to effectively track and address any cases of bullying, sexual harassment or assault in your organization. 

    With this form, you can collect a range of important information with regard to the nature of the harassment and the employee details of the complainant and the accused. You can use this form template or edit it to suit your organization’s needs in the form builder. 

    4. Online Petition Form

    Do you want to advocate for a change or register your displeasure about a particular policy or action? Use this online petition form template to easily create a petition for the government, an individual or an organization. 

    In the Formplus online petition form, you can directly collect digital signatures from petition signatories using the e-signature field. Formplus also allows your form respondents to fill and submit your online petition when they have limited or no internet access.

    5. Proxy Form

    With this proxy form template, you can formally empower a third party to make decisions on your behalf for a specific period of time. This form serves as a legal tender and it helps you to avoid the inconsistencies that are associated with a verbal authorization.  

    The Formplus proxy form template contains signature fields that collect the digital signatures of all parties involved in this agreement. You can also edit the form in the builder to include more form fields when you sign up on Formplus

    6. Bug Report Form

    This bug report form will help you to stay on top of every situation by collecting real-time reports about different issues that may arise with your online services.

    This form allows your customers to swiftly register their dissatisfaction with your organization’s online services so that you can resolve them in time. 

    7. Daily Report Form

    Track your worker’s daily productivity using this daily report form template. The Formplus daily report form allows you to assess your worker’s performance at the end of the day, and you can edit it to suit your organization’s needs in the form builder. 

    Can’t find your preferred incident report form? learn how to create one below.

    How to Create an Incident Report Form on Formplus

    1. sign in to formplus.

    In the Formplus builder, you can easily create your organization’s incident report form by dragging and dropping preferred fields into your form. To access the Formplus builder, you will need to create an account on Formplus. 

    Once you do this, sign in to your account and click on “Create Form ” to begin. 

    2. Edit Form Title

    Click on the field provided to input your form title, for example, “Incident Report Form”.

    3. Edit Form

    Click on the edit button to edit the form.

    • Edit fields: You can modify your form field to be hidden or read-only based on your organization’s needs. 
    • Click on “Save”
    • Preview form. 

    4. Form Customization

    With the form customization options, you can easily change the outlook of your form and make it more unique and personalized. Formplus allows you to change your form theme, add background images and even change the font according to your needs. 

    5. Multiple Sharing Options

    How to write an incident report letter.

    An incident report letter is a formal document that contains all the information with regard to the particular occurrence that is being reported. A good incident report letter effectively outlines the different events surrounding the incident and suggests measures that can be taken to avoid a recurrence in the future.

    Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write an incident report letter:

    Follow the Protocol

    Find out if your organization already has a procedure for writing an incident report letter. In many cases, organizations have a template for this type of letter and it is best to follow the provided outline to avoid any inconsistencies. 

    Write your Letter as Soon as Possible

    Typically, an incident report letter should be sent in, at most, 48 hours after the incident. Writing your letter immediately after the incident would help you to provide vivid and accurate descriptions of the events surrounding the incident. 

    Outline the Facts

    Usually, an incident report letter follows the 5Ws and 1H format, that is, what, when, where, who, why and how. Typically, it should explicitly state the following:  

    • The time and date of the incident
    • The location of the incident
    • Your name and other bio-data details.
    • The name(s) of any other individual(s) involved in the incident.
    • Provide a general overview of the occurrence.
    • Provide a detailed description of the incident: Write about the incident in the sequence of occurrence, from the first-person point of view. 
    • Suggest proactive measures that can be taken to avoid a recurrence of the incident. 

    Incident Report Letter Sample

    Uses of incident report  .

    • An incident report allows you to accurately document the details of any occurrence in your organization. This information may be useful in the future when dealing with liability issues stemming from the incident. 
    • It evaluates the incident and provides recommendations on precautionary and reactionary measures to be taken. 
    • An incident report serves as an effective feedback mechanism and it raises the overall awareness of your employees and clients. 
    • It improves the safety culture of your organization. 
    • A near-miss incident report provides invaluable information that enables companies to proactively resolve hazards. 
    • Incident reports can also be used as safety documents that highlight potential risks and uncontrolled hazards found in the workplace.


    When drafting an incident report, it is important for you to accurately reflect the different events in the order in which their order of occurrences. You should also take extra care to document facts and not opinions or hearsays because these will affect the validity and usefulness of the report in the end. 

    Finally, it is easier to document an incident report using an online form. Online forms are more convenient and you can easily embed them on your organization’s website or share them with your social media pages so that all concerned parties can access them easily. 


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    StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-.

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    StatPearls [Internet].

    Incident reporting.

    Consolato Sergi ; Donald D. Davis .


    Last Update: July 25, 2023 .

    • Definition/Introduction

    Medical errors currently represent a serious public health issue, as they pose a severe threat to patient safety. The introduction of new clinical approaches, procedures, and laboratory techniques accompanied by increased bureaucracy in the life of a physician has resulted in tremendous challenges in his or her practice. Numerous studies over recent decades have shown an increased incidence of burnout syndrome and suicide rates in physicians and personnel of allied health care providers across several countries. Diagnostic errors in medicine are not infrequent, although our approach to these situations has changed notably from 40 years ago, as today there is a shift from placing blame upon an individual to identifying the cause of a medical error, as well as the application of policies to limit complications and prevent future such medical errors. 

    Improving individual outcomes is a vital component of every clinician’s training and continuing professional education. To optimize outcomes and prevent medical errors, policymakers must be able to identify the root cause of each medical incidence. Understanding the underlying cause of a medical error can be challenging, as there is generally a multifactorial pathway that leads to suboptimal clinical results. However, increased incident reporting inevitably leads to improved root cause analysis and policies that cause medical errors to become rare.

    • Issues of Concern

    The Institute of Medicine (IOM) gave the following definition for error: "the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended, or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim." In contrast, a diagnostic error was defined as: "error or delay in diagnosis, failure to employ indicated tests or therapy, failure to act on the results of monitoring or testing." Finally, an adverse event is defined as: "an event that results in unintended harm to the patient by an act of omission or commission." [1]  To reduce the incidence of errors, tasks such as the identification of causes, setting solutions, and measuring the success of improvement efforts are divided among different members of the healthcare team.

    Reporting an incident is critical in improving healthcare and is exclusively based on the principle of learning from prior medical errors. These events may not need to cause death or even harm to the patient. Incident reporting includes near misses, that is events that did not result in patient harm, despite having harmful potential. There is often difficulty in linking cause and effect when examining adverse events.

    • Clinical Significance

    In 1991, an analysis of 203 incidents of cardiac arrest at one teaching hospital discovered that 14% of patients experienced an iatrogenic complication. [2]  One review by Bodell et al. reported that greater than half of deaths caused by medical errors were preventable.

    There are three identified types of medical errors: systemic errors, cognitive errors, and no-fault errors. System errors are defined as technical or equipment failures, or alternatively, organizational flaws. Cognitive errors include errors deriving from inadequate knowledge by medical practitioners. No-fault errors are made during the provision of health care that could not be foreseen and would be impossible to prevent even by the most careful practitioner. 

    Appropriate identification of the type of error will allow regulatory boards and policymakers to develop appropriate policies that can reduce preventable medical errors, improving both the quality of patient care, and reducing the liability of medical institutions. [3] [4]

    • Nursing, Allied Health, and Interprofessional Team Interventions

    Reporting of medical errors is the first step to improving medical care. It relies on the development of policies that address the root cause of medical errors and the provision of clear communication and training to all members of the healthcare team. Nurses, therapists, mid-level providers, and physicians all play an essential but unique role in delivering appropriate patient care. Therefore, representation of all members of the medical team should have representation on policy boards that review medical incident reports and develop policies to prevent future such errors. Once these policies are in place, members of medical regulatory boards need to communicate new policies clearly to all members of the healthcare team. [5] [6] [7] [8]

    • Nursing, Allied Health, and Interprofessional Team Monitoring

    Since the 1980s, the approach to addressing and preventing medical errors has tremendously improved. Improved methods of incident reporting have led to an improved relationship between patients, physicians, and medical regulatory bodies. Furthermore, advances in electronic medical records improve our ability to develop policies to maximize patient outcomes. [9]  Continued improvement in medical care requires the use of information gleaned from incident reporting, and electronic medical records must influence training programs for medical practitioners. [10] [11] [12] [13]

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    Disclosure: Consolato Sergi declares no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.

    Disclosure: Donald Davis declares no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.

    This book is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) ( ), which permits others to distribute the work, provided that the article is not altered or used commercially. You are not required to obtain permission to distribute this article, provided that you credit the author and journal.

    • Cite this Page Sergi C, Davis DD. Incident Reporting. [Updated 2023 Jul 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-.

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    5 elements of a good incident report

    Written by LetsBuild

    the meaning of incident report

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    Incident reports are part of risk management tools employed to describe and evaluate the circumstances led to an event that potentially endangered the wellbeing of employees or actives of the company. The documentation is used in both construction works and office activities with the goal of preventing similar cases to happen in the future.

    Besides having an important role to improve the safety conditions and watch over the assets of the company, incident reports are one of the supporting documentation insurances demand once accidents occur. They are also utilised by lawyers to carry on with legal procedures to assist the company and employees during pleads.

    Hence, a well-crafted and detailed incident report is key to have an effective business process quality management.

    Table of Contents

    What is an incident?

    From the management perspective, an incident is an unexpected occurrence that could bring on health threats or endanger actives of a company – they are also called “near misses” as the event itself didn’t cause major loses.

    Whenever the incident results in injuries or detriment of the equipment and private property, it is addressed as an “accident”. In this order of ideas, all accidents are incidents.

    Although different economic activities seek to comply with specific occupational and health services (OHS) standards, both incidents and accidents own a very similar report framework, whether the event happened in a construction site or in an office.

    What is the structure of an Incident Report?

    The first part of an incident report is the introduction or executive summary. The document starts mentioning the international and national standards the report conforms with. Additionally, the purpose, the scope and the definition of the terminology used to describe the events figure at the beginning of the document.

    If there are several versions of the report, the reference codes must be displayed before the introduction in a table alongside the names and firms of the process owners and supervisors.

    The context of the incident is outlined after the introduction. In this section, the place where the event unfolds is described thoughtfully, including the location, dates, approximate response time, accountability of workers and if so, third parties involved.

    The third part of the report is the investigation and analysis. Here, the results of the interviews with the workers implicated provide an extra background in order to carry on with a deeper evaluation of causes.

    The physical and mental state of the concerned employees should also be mentioned. In this way, it is easier to figure out if the causes of the incident were due to lack of safety measurements from the company or other factors.

    For instance, if the worker who had the incident was feeling unwell that day, the final assessment and conclusions should include actions to be taken in order to encourage employees to communicate their health limitations that may hinder their work results or lead to accidents.

    To close the report, there are a series of recommendations on how to prevent similar happenings and show the results of the evaluation of the incident.

    The key point of the recommendation is to explain in an understandable fashion and in compliance with the standards mentioned in the introduction, the corrective actions to be taken, and the expected time frame to implement solutions.

    5 Elements of a Good Incident Report

    Identifying the “how”, “when”, “where” and “whom” of the incident are important elements of a good report – and all companies are most likely to emphasize these marks during the document development.

    However, there are five extra elements every process owner should consider adding to craft a document worth sharing, functional and actionable.

    Process Workflow

    Visual information is much easier to follow than dense lengthy paragraphs and table of contents. Subsequently the introduction, a good incident report often displays a process workflow presenting each of the major steps taken to build the document and come down with the corrective actions.

    The level of detail of the workflow depends on the requirements of the risk management area, or else the seriousness of the incident. The key tasks to mention in the workflow includes notification of the incident, identification of responsible, interviews, investigation and analysis, conclusion, sharing learnings and implementation.

    Facts on Chronological Order

    The more descriptive the report is, the easier is to make a mental image of the events. With a clear picture of the incident, down-to-earth resolvings are provided in the document and implementing these solutions becomes less stressful for everyone involved.

    Incident reports should start with mentioning subjects, exact location (with relatives coordinates whenever possible) and how the events happen the closest reality as possible.

    The collection of testimonies should start immediately after the incident – when the memories are fresh. Although this sometimes may seem unnecessary for small incidents, there are small details that may not seem striking some time after the incident, therefore they go unnoticed and unrecorded – which can affect the result of the report.

    Witnesses and Teams

    A good incident report often has a section exclusively to describe the functions of the workers implicated the incident, the team that responded to the emergency and the process owners. By knowing who the professionals in charge and the workers implicated are, potential issues with confidential information can be avoided.

    In the same manner, it is also important to have information about the company hierarchy. Through an understanding of the chain of command problems with the top-down or bottom-up controls and reporting are identifiable to figure out if the incident was originated from misinterpretation.

    Photos and Sketches

    Pictures of the place in question facilitate the understanding and assessment of the possible causes of the incident. Images help process owners get a visual background of the configuration of the working space and how it could represent a danger to employees – or well if the incident was originated for human errors.

    The photos should contain reference points, and they should have a footnote with important observations and a description of the objects in it.

    Sketches are an excellent way of complement pictures. In the sketches is possible of displaying point of references, showing distances and overall offering a more precise description of the place.

    Sketches are useful to build a bigger picture of the workplace. They can also simplify the information offered in the picture. In this way, many distracting or unrelated elements in the picture are ignored and it is easy to focus on the elements that actually caused the accident.

    Actionable Suggestions

    Actionable suggestions are descriptive and straightforward. They provide a quick context and instruction on how to prevent future incidents.

    The advice given in the conclusion of the report should include an overview of the causes of the incident, the risk employees were exposed to, the staff in charge of the case assessment and a specific action to be taken. Put in different words, if the incident was caused by the configuration on the positions of the materials in a warehouse, the actionable suggestions would be related to reaching out to a professional to change the way the goods are stored.

    If the corrective measurements are instantly adopted, a new section on the report could be added with the timeframe, guidelines, pictures and factors considered to change the configuration of the space, or whatever action was undertaken.

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    Definition of incident

     (Entry 1 of 2)

    Definition of incident  (Entry 2 of 2)

    • circumstance

    occurrence , event , incident , episode , circumstance mean something that happens or takes place.

    occurrence may apply to a happening without intent, volition, or plan.

    event usually implies an occurrence of some importance and frequently one having antecedent cause.

    incident suggests an occurrence of brief duration or secondary importance.

    episode stresses the distinctiveness or apartness of an incident.

    circumstance implies a specific detail attending an action or event as part of its setting or background.

    Examples of incident in a Sentence

    These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incident.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

    Word History

    Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin incident-, incidens , from Latin, present participle of incidere to fall into, from in- + cadere to fall — more at chance

    15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

    15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

    Phrases Containing incident

    • without incident

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    “Incident.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2024.

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    Kids definition of incident.

    Kids Definition of incident  (Entry 2 of 2)

    Medical Definition

    Medical definition of incident, legal definition, legal definition of incident.

    Legal Definition of incident  (Entry 2 of 2)

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    What is a police incident report.

    By Dan Ketchum

    December 27, 2019

    Reviewed by Michelle Seidel, B.Sc., LL.B., MBA

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    the meaning of incident report

    • How to Look up Free Police Records

    Details with the red and blue lights siren on top of a police car

    While the term police incident report sounds so straightforward you might think it's self-explanatory, it's actually just the entrance into a deep rabbit hole of law enforcement reporting jargon. It's absolutely necessary for police departments to maintain detailed logs of factual and eye-witness information pertaining to reported crimes, and alongside the police report, the incident report serves as one of the very first documents on that journey as told by the victim of the crime.

    Police Incident Report: Definition

    Right off the bat, the most defining characteristic of an incident report is that it is not written by the police. When a crime occurs and is reported to the police, the victim of the crime makes a statement regarding the incident. This is the incident report.

    The incident report may include supporting documents that corroborate, or are related to, the victim's statement, such as letters or bank statements. Police departments often grant insurance companies and businesses that request a police report access to the incident report; these are not usually used as tools for further investigation for law enforcement agencies (leave that to the police report).

    Before diving too deeply down the police jargon rabbit hole, it's crucial to bear in mind that nomenclature and naming habits often vary across police departments. And of course, the term incident report is also used for workplace reports, traffic incidents and medical incidents, which may further add to the confusion. For police use, incident reports are also sometimes called offense reports .

    Police Incident Report: Contents

    Even more so than naming conventions, the actual contents of an incident report vary widely with the nature of the incident. Most police departments offer incident report forms, which serve as templates for victims to fill in relevant information. These reports are packed full of info, often including:

    • Type of crime.
    • Date and time the crime began.
    • Date and time the crime ended.
    • Date and time the report was created.
    • Location of the incident.
    • Type of location, such as school or restaurant.
    • Identifying information for the victim, including name, date of birth, driver's license number and Social Security number.
    • Physical information for the victim, such as height, weight, age, hair color, race, sex and eye color.
    • Contact information for the victim, such as residence address, business address, employer name, phone numbers and email address.

    Because incident reports are commonly used in cases of theft , some templates may also include specific prompts for the type of theft, the method and points of entry and exit, and a space to list stolen property, including details such as the quantity, brand, model, serial number, color, estimated market value and monetary value of any damage that occurred. Similarly, other incident reports cater to injury-related crimes , such as domestic abuse, and may contain fields asking the victim to describe the type of injury and the victim's relationship to the abuser, if any.

    Perhaps most importantly and characteristically, incident reports contain space for the victim's narrative (this can also be attached on additional sheets of paper). The narrative is a free-form section for the victim to write a detailed account of the incident as it occurred, as well as to provide any additional information the writer of the incident report deems relevant to the situation.

    The victim signs the incident report, verifying a short, usually prewritten statement that the information contained in the document is, to the best of the writer's knowledge, true and correct.

    Filing an Incident Report

    Upon receiving the report from the victim, the police department adds information to the incident report, including:

    • Report number used by police to easily look up and keep track of the report.
    • Name of the officer who approved the report, if any, and the badge number.
    • Exact classification and incident code for the type of crime.
    • Name and badge number of the law enforcement official who reviewed the report.
    • Case numbers for any associated cases.
    • Case status, such as open, suspended or unfounded.
    • Any known bias of the victim.
    • Time and date the report was submitted to the police department's database.

    Commonly, victims of a crime also have the option to file their incident reports online with the appropriate police department. Sometimes, though, this option does not allow for the attachment of supporting documents.

    Once submitted, the incident report may or may not be reviewed by an officer, let alone investigated, as fraud investigator Mark Fullbright notes in his 2014 presentation, "Police Report vs. Incident Report: A Resource for Identity Theft Victims." Incident reports usually live in a records management system maintained by law enforcement agencies.

    What Is a Police Report?

    OK, if an incident report isn't even written by police, then what's a police report?

    First, unlike an incident report, a police report is written by police . This document is a thorough description of the facts detailing a crime, written by the law enforcement officer or other police department representative who was assigned to the scene. It can't be stressed enough that police reports focus on logging the facts. These reports stay specific to the crime-related events that occurred.

    Like incident reports, police departments often have different document report templates for different crimes, such as identity theft or traffic incidents. These often contain bespoke information, like details on the compromised information or auto damage, but some common items across police reports remain fairly consistent. This info is often similar to incident reports and includes:

    • Basic identifying info of the victim, like name, birthdate, age, race and sex.
    • Contact info for the victim, such as home and work addresses, phone numbers and email address.
    • Date and time of first and last activity.
    • Date and time reported.
    • Type of offense.
    • Basic identifying info of the suspect, such as name, birthdate, age, race, sex, hair color and eye color.
    • Additional information for the suspect, including known aliases and relationship to the victim.
    • Contact information for the suspect, if known.
    • Synopsis of the incident in chronological order, similar to the incident report's narrative, with an emphasis on fact-based, objective reporting.
    • A photocopy of the victim's identification, such as a driver's license, state ID or passport.
    • Any relevant supporting documents.

    Unlike incident reports, police reports serve as crucial tools for investigations following the initial incident. Often, detectives use these reports in their ongoing work.

    Other Types of Records

    Among police departments across the country, police incident reports and police reports are far from alone. Law enforcement agencies maintain a wide variety of records, some similar to incident reports and some vastly different. These documents include:

    • Logs of arrests or arrest reports detailing arrests made by law enforcement.
    • Logs of incident responses detailing police action taken in response to incidents.
    • Search warrants allowing law enforcement officers with reason to suspect criminal activity to search a location.
    • Arrest warrants listing the defendant's name, description of the crime and bail amount.
    • Custody and bail records held at county and city jails.
    • Coroner's office reports.

    Availability of Reports

    It's important to note that police do not charge people with crimes; that duty falls to prosecutors. Court cases open only when a defendant receives formal charges.

    For this reason, incident reports and other records created and maintained by police departments are not part of the court system, which means that – unlike court records – they're not automatically open to the public. Search warrants are the exception to this rule, as they are filed with the court; conveniently for reporters and the public, they also commonly contain detailed info on the related criminal case.

    Alongside incident reports, numerous types of police reports are typically open to public perusal by request , such as logs of arrest, logs of incident responses, coroner's office reports and, of course, search warrants. Some reports provided to the public may contain edited or censored sensitive information.

    State Laws and Police Records

    Some state laws, such as the California Public Records act, specifically include and exclude certain types of police records from public disclosure. Similarly, police can claim general exemptions to public disclosure, such as withholding information that may put someone in harm's way or potentially compromise an ongoing investigation.

    On a similar note, specific legislation like California SB 1421, the Right to Know Act, grants the public the right to access some records relevant to cases of police misconduct and serious uses of force. According to the NorCal branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, this act grants access to any relevant documents still in the agency's possession. As is the case for obtaining most types of police records, interested parties will need to submit a request form, available in person or at the particular police department's website. Read More: How to Look up Free Police Records

    Look Up Police Reports Online

    As surprising as it may sound in the 21st century, even public accessibility doesn't always equal online accessibility. This is certainly true in the realm of police records.

    The online availability of police records boils down to each individual police department. Some local departments freely offer documents like arrest logs, incident reports and incident response logs on their official websites. As an alternative, online arms of newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle regularly publish arrest records pertaining to their localities.

    While a virtually countless array of commercial websites advertise the ability to look up police reports by case number (for a price, of course), their ability to deliver on those claims may vary. The time-tested, old-school method requires victims to mail a written request for a police report to the relevant police department's records division or document processing unit. It's often the case that police reports will only be provided to the victim or the victim's representative.

    Police Report Case Numbers

    At the scene of the crime, the reporting officer will often provide the victim with an identification number for the police report, which can be used to look up the report. Especially in terms of traffic incidents, this makes it easy for victims to look up accident reports by case number.

    Traffic Collision Reports and Arrest Summaries

    In a similar fashion, the department may provide copies of traffic collision reports or arrest summaries, but these docs don't always come free. The Los Angeles Police Department, for instance, charges anywhere from $17 to nearly $30 for certain reports.

    While a police report is written by law enforcement, an incident report is an account of a crime written by the victim.

    • Berkeley Advanced Media Institute: Tutorial: Police Records
    • Mark Fullbright, CCFI, CITRMS, CCRR: Police Report vs. Incident Report: A Resource for Identity Theft Victims
    • Bakersfield Police Department: Summary Incident Report
    • Stillwater Police Department: Uniform Incident/Offense Report
    • Police Data Initiative: Incidents
    • Los Angeles Police Department: Obtaining Police Information
    • Nolo: Car Accidents and Police Reports
    • Oakland Police Department: Identity Theft Report
    • Cambridge Police Department: Incident Report
    • ACLU NorCal: Access to California Police Records

    As a freelance writer and small business owner with a decade of experience, Dan has contributed legal- and finance-oriented content to diverse sources including Chron, Fortune,, Motley Fool and MSN Money, among others.

    Related Articles

    • Information on Police Reports
    • What Is a Supplemental Police Report?
    • What Is the Purpose of a Police Report?

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    Biden Cleared in Documents Case; Report Raises Concerns About His Memory

    The inquiry found that the president had willfully retained material after finishing his term as vice president and had shared sensitive information with a ghostwriter.

    • Share full article

    Biden Won’t Face Charges in Classified Records Case

    “this matter is now closed,” president biden declared before the house democratic caucus issues conference, after the special counsel’s report on his handling of classified documents came out..

    The special counsel released their findings today about their look into my handling of classified documents. I was pleased to see they reached the conclusion I believe they knew all along they would, that there are — no charges should be brought in this case. [applause] As many of you know, this was an exhaustive investigation going back literally more than 40 years, 40 years when I became a United States senator. And I was a kid. I was a kid, 29 years old — special counsel acknowledged I cooperated completely. I did not throw up any roadblocks. I sought no delays. In fact, I was so determined to give special counsel what they needed, I went forward with a five-hour in-person interview over the two days of October the 9th — 8th and 9th — last year, even though Israel had just been attacked by Hamas on the 7th. Bottom line is the special counsel in my case decided against moving forward with any charges, and this matter is now closed.

    Video player loading

    By Glenn Thrush

    Reporting from Washington

    The special counsel investigating President Biden said in a report released on Thursday that Mr. Biden had “willfully” retained and disclosed classified material after leaving the vice presidency in 2017 but concluded that “no criminal charges are warranted.”

    Robert K. Hur, the special counsel, said in an unflattering 300-plus-page report that Mr. Biden had left the White House after his vice presidency with classified documents about Afghanistan and notebooks with handwritten entries “implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods” taken from White House briefings.

    Mr. Hur criticized Mr. Biden for sharing the content of the notebooks with a ghostwriter who helped him on his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad, ” even though he knew some of it was classified.

    But the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Mr. Hur, a former Trump Justice Department official appointed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in January 2023 to lead the inquiry after classified files were found in the garage and living areas of Mr. Biden’s home in Delaware and his former office in Washington .

    While Mr. Hur decided not to prosecute Mr. Biden, 81, some of the reasoning he cited for his decision immediately created a new political crisis for the White House. In recounting his interviews with the president, Mr. Hur portrayed him as unable to remember key dates of his time in the Obama White House — or even precisely when his son Beau had died.

    “Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview with him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Mr. Hur wrote.

    He cited Mr. Biden’s age by the time he would leave office — either in 2025 or 2029 — as an additional factor. It would be difficult to convince a jury that “a former president well into his 80s” was guilty of a felony that “requires a mental state of willfulness,” Mr. Hur added.

    Thumbnail of page 1

    Special Counsel’s Report on President Biden and Classified Documents

    In a statement after the report was made public, Mr. Biden said he took national security seriously, “cooperated completely, threw up no roadblocks and sought no delays” in responding to Mr. Hur’s requests for information.

    In fiery remarks later from the White House, Mr. Biden assailed the report, saying his memory was fine and that he had not willfully retained classified material. He also expressed outrage that Mr. Hur had suggested he could not remember when his son had died.

    “How in the hell dare he raise that?” Mr. Biden said.

    Earlier, the White House counsel and Mr. Biden’s private lawyers slammed Mr. Hur for suggesting the president had flouted the law even as he concluded that prosecutors did not have the evidence to prove that in court. And they assailed Mr. Hur’s characterization of Mr. Biden as suffering from memory problems, saying it was hardly unusual to have trouble recalling dates and details of long-ago occurrences.

    Bob Bauer, Mr. Biden’s personal attorney, accused Mr. Hur of disregarding Justice Department “regulations and norms” and compared the special counsel’s conduct to that of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director who during the 2016 presidential campaign criticized Hillary Clinton’s handling of sensitive information even though he declined to recommend criminal charges.

    In a letter included in the appendix of the report, Mr. Biden’s lawyers called the inclusion of discussion of Mr. Biden’s memory “pejorative” and noted that the five-hour interview with the president had taken place shortly after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, after Mr. Biden had spent hours on the phone with foreign leaders.

    “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events,” they wrote, adding: “This language is not supported by the facts, nor is it appropriately used by a federal prosecutor in this context.”

    Still, Mr. Hur’s assessment is sure to provide potent new lines of attack for former President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump has long sought to sow doubts about Mr. Biden’s fitness for office, and he has been seeking to discredit the Justice Department over its far more serious investigation into Mr. Trump’s retention of classified materials after leaving office and his alleged obstruction of the government’s efforts to reclaim them.

    Robert K. Hur speaking into multiple microphones.

    Mr. Hur’s report includes a photograph of the open box where the F.B.I. found classified Afghanistan documents in Mr. Biden’s cluttered garage, next to a ladder and old exercise equipment, and another image of sensitive materials stored in a cardboard banker’s box.

    Similar pictures taken during the 2022 search of Mr. Trump’s resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, showed that he had stored boxes in a bathroom that was accessible to visitors. After Mr. Hur’s report was made public, Mr. Trump sent out the image of the Biden garage through his campaign’s email account, along with the claim, unsupported by any evidence, that he had “cooperated far more” than Mr. Biden.

    In fact, Mr. Hur noted that Mr. Biden had fully cooperated with the investigation, allowing investigators unimpeded access to his properties. Mr. Trump has been accused of misleading the government for months over the hundreds of highly classified documents in his possession and of having his personal staff move boxes as officials were seeking their return.

    In the report’s introduction, Mr. Hur suggested that Mr. Biden’s cooperation with investigators was a factor in his decision not to bring charges.

    Unlike Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump refused to return the materials he retained “after being given multiple chances to return documents and avoid prosecution,” he wrote.

    Mr. Hur was bound by a Justice Department legal policy that makes sitting presidents immune from being charged with crimes while in office. But he said that his decision not to pursue criminal charges would have been the same even if regulations had allowed him to indict Mr. Biden.

    The special counsel conducted 173 interviews, including with Mr. Biden and his top advisers, and examined hundreds of thousands of documents. Some of the material was collected before Mr. Hur took over the investigation, when Mr. Garland assigned John R. Lausch Jr., then the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Chicago, to make preliminary inquiries.

    It was Mr. Lausch who recommended appointing a special counsel, department officials said.

    Some of the classified material related Mr. Biden’s opposition, in 2009, to temporary troop increases in Afghanistan supported by President Barack Obama’s team, which he viewed as “a mistake akin to Vietnam,” Mr. Hur wrote.

    Other documents pertained more broadly to Mr. Biden’s attempt to “document his legacy, and to cite evidence that he was a man of presidential timber,” the report noted.

    In a conversation recorded at a rented property in Virginia in February 2017 — a month after he left office — Mr. Biden told his ghostwriter he had “just found all the classified stuff downstairs.”

    Mr. Hur said that exchange was the strongest basis for a prosecution he had found. But he concluded that a jury was unlikely to convict Mr. Biden, given the fact that he had grown accustomed to legally retaining documents as vice president, might have not fully adjusted to the new restrictions and believed he had the right to keep his personal notes — based on President Ronald Reagan’s retention of similar materials for decades.

    In his interview with investigators, Mr. Biden declared that his notebooks were “my property” and said that “every president before me has done the same thing,” singling out Mr. Reagan.

    The special counsel said Mr. Biden was mistaken about the law, but conceded that his view “finds some support in historical practice.”

    Mr. Hur said that the decision not to charge Mr. Biden for possessing the other classified materials was more straightforward: Prosecutors could not establish whether classified documents discovered at Mr. Biden’s house had been willfully retained, or whether they had been obtained during his vice presidency and sloppily stored.

    The classified documents discovered in Mr. Biden’s Delaware garage in a “badly damaged box surrounded by household detritus” indicated he simply may have forgotten he had it over the years, rather than intentionally breaking the law, Mr. Hur concluded.

    Charlie Savage contributed reporting.

    Glenn Thrush covers the Department of Justice. He joined The Times in 2017 after working for Politico, Newsday, Bloomberg News, The New York Daily News, The Birmingham Post-Herald and City Limits. More about Glenn Thrush

    Biden’s Mental Acuity Under Scrutiny

    Comments about president biden’s age and memory in the special counsel’s report have captured democrats’ fears ahead of the november election and fueled republicans in their efforts to cast the president as weak..

    An Age-Old Question: How old is too old to be president? The report has thrust the issue back into the spotlight  just as America seems poised to elect a commander in chief well past typical retirement age, no matter who wins in November.

    Implications for 2024 Election: Why is the age issue hurting Biden  so much more than Donald Trump? Both are over 75, but voters are much less likely to worry that Trump is too old to serve .

    Voter Reactions: To Americans in their 70s and 80s, the renewed questions swirling around Biden’s age have resonated in deeply personal ways . Many agree that it’s an issue, while others feel the criticism of Biden is insulting.

    Rebuffing the Report: Vice President Kamala Harris and other White House officials have sought to discredit the report , suggesting that it was more of a political attack than an unbiased legal document .

    The Science of Memory Loss: After the report’s release, medical experts noted that the special counsel’s judgments on Biden’s mental health did not appear to be based on science .

    A Protective White House: Biden’s top aides have created a cocoon around him out of concern that his mistakes could be amplified and damage his image. The events that followed the report’s release emphasized those risks in striking ways .

    Biden won’t be charged in classified docs case; special counsel cites instances of ‘poor memory’

    WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Hur has declined to prosecute President Joe Biden for his handling of classified documents but said in a report released Thursday that Biden’s practices “present serious risks to national security” and added that part of the reason he wouldn't charge Biden was that the president could portray himself as an "elderly man with a poor memory" who would be sympathetic to a jury.

    “Our investigation uncovered evidence that President Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” the report said, but added that the evidence “does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    The report from Hur — who previously appointed by former President Donald Trump as one of the country's top federal prosecutors — also made clear the "material distinctions" between a theoretical case against Biden and the pending case against Trump for his handling of classified documents, noting the "serious aggravating facts" in Trump's case.

    Biden said in remarks from the White House after the report was made public that he was pleased that the report cleared him.

    "The decision to decline criminal charges was straightforward," Biden said.

    He also said: “My memory’s fine.”

    Hur’s report included several shocking lines about Biden’s memory, which the report said “was significantly limited” during his 2023 interviews with the special counsel. Biden’s age and presentation would make it more difficult to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the now-81-year-old was guilty of willfully committing a crime.

    “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” it said. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him — by then a former president well into his eighties — of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”

    Later in the report, the special counsel said that the president’s memory was “worse” during an interview with him than it was in recorded conversations from 2017.

    “He did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013 — when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’),” the report said.

    Biden also had difficulty remembering the timing of his son Beau’s death, as well as a debate about Afghanistan, the report said.

    “He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died,” the report said.

    Defenders of the president quickly pointed out that he sat for the interview in the days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Biden, giving previously scheduled remarks on Thursday, appeared to nod to that, saying, “I was in the middle of handling an international crisis.”

    He also added that he was “especially pleased” that the special counsel “made clear the stark differences between this case and Donald Trump.”

    Andrew Weissman, who served on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, said Thursday on MSNBC that Hur’s decision to lodge criticisms of Biden’s memory problems was “gratuitous” and reminded him of when former FBI Director James Comey held a news conference criticizing Hillary Clinton in the months before the 2016 election.

    “This is not being charged. And yet a person goes out and gives their opinion with adjectives and adverbs about what they think, entirely inappropriate,” he said. “I think a really fair criticism of this is, unfortunately, we’re seeing a redux of what we saw with respect to James Comey at the FBI with respect to Hillary Clinton in terms of really not adhering to what I think are the highest ideals of the Department of Justice.”

    page 131 photo hur report

    In a Monday letter to Hur and his deputy special counsel, Richard Sauber and Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal counsel, disputed how the report characterized the president’s memory.

    “We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” Sauber and Bauer wrote in the letter, which was also released on Thursday. “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events.”

    Separately, Sauber responded to the report by saying the White House is “pleased” it has concluded and that there were no criminal charges.

    “As the Special Counsel report recognizes, the President fully cooperated from day one,” he said in a statement. “His team promptly self-reported the classified documents that were found to ensure that these documents were immediately returned to the government because the President knows that’s where they belong.”

    Sauber went on to appear to criticize the report but raised no specific points.

    “We disagree with a number of inaccurate and inappropriate comments in the Special Counsel’s report,” Sauber said in his statement. “Nonetheless, the most important decision the Special Counsel made — that no charges are warranted — is firmly based on the facts and evidence.”

    Hur’s report said there were “clear” material distinctions between a potential case against Biden and the pending case against Trump, noting that unlike “the evidence involving Mr. Biden, the allegations set forth in the indictment of Mr. Trump, if proven, would present serious aggravating facts.”

    the meaning of incident report

    Most notably, the report said, “after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.” In contrast, it said, “Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview, and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.”

    Some of the report focuses on documents about Afghanistan, from early in Barack Obama’s presidency. About a month after Biden left office as vice president, in a recorded conversation with his ghostwriter in February 2017, Biden remarked that he “just found all this classified stuff downstairs,” the report said. He told him, “Some of this may be classified, so be careful," in one recording. Biden was believed to have been referring to classified documents about the Afghanistan troop surge in 2009, which Biden opposed.

    The announcement tops off a lengthy saga that began in November 2022, after one of Biden’s personal attorneys found classified documents that appeared to be from the Obama administration at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, which Biden had used as a personal office after his vice presidential term concluded. Classified documents were later also found at Biden’s Delaware home.

    The existence of classified documents at Biden’s home and former office were first reported in January 2023. CBS News first reported the existence of the documents at the Penn Biden Center.

    Attorney General Merrick Garland in January 2023 announced that he would appoint Hur as special counsel to oversee the investigation into Biden, saying the appointment authorized him “to investigate whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with this matter.”

    Biden was interviewed in October as part of the investigation, the White House said. The interview was voluntary, according to White House spokesman Ian Sams.

    “As we have said from the beginning, the President and the White House are cooperating with this investigation, and as it has been appropriate, we have provided relevant updates publicly, being as transparent as we can consistent with protecting and preserving the integrity of the investigation,” Sams said at the time.

    NBC News has also previously reported that the special counsel had interviewed Hunter Biden as well, according to a source familiar with the matter.

    With Hur’s announcement, Donald Trump remains the only president in history to face criminal charges, which include seven criminal charges in connection with mishandling classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. According to the indictment in that case, Trump had more than 100 classified documents at his Florida home, including documents with “Top Secret” classification markings.

    the meaning of incident report

    Ryan J. Reilly is a justice reporter for NBC News.

    the meaning of incident report

    Ken Dilanian is the justice and intelligence correspondent for NBC News, based in Washington.

    the meaning of incident report

    Megan Lebowitz is a politics reporter for NBC News.


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