Everything you need to know about incident management in the workplace

Accidents still occur, despite the fact that the modern occupational health and safety (OHS) sector places a premium on foresight and the early identification and mitigation of potential risks. For that reason, everyone should be ready for any incident in their workplace.

In other words, you need to know what, when, and to whom information must be reported. Complete and precise reporting guarantees an effective resolution to the emerging situation, and it helps reveal potential trouble spots and highlight the areas where more safety measures are required.

Sadly, not all organizations have well-defined and consistently applied policies and processes for handling incidents. And since you can never tell who will be present during an incident and who will need to file a formal report, in that case, every employee should be trained to perform incident management in their various roles.

Understanding incident management?

The term “incident” describes any unforeseen event that causes chaos in the workplace and hinders the company’s ability to function normally. A further effect is a decline in efficiency.

In other words, an incident is any unanticipated occurrence in the workplace that either causes or could have caused physical harm to an employee or company property.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)defines an incident as an accidental event of sudden that was formerly known as an accident. OSHA’s definition of incident covers employees’ injuries, illnesses, and near-misses.

When something goes wrong regarding health and safety at work, it can have repercussions for more than just the well-being of workers and morale.

Disruptions in operations, employee benefits and property destruction claims, environment tidy expenses, and increased insurance premiums are all possible outcomes of health and safety accidents.Reputational losses due to incidents might substantially call for adequate incident management.

Incident management, therefore, is recognizingpotential dangers, taking measures to prevent them from occurring, and documenting and analyzing the outcomes of these actions to ensure safe working environments.

Simply put, incident management is an organization’s internal procedure for dealing with health and safety issues. To “handle” a risk means recognizing it, taking steps to mitigate it, reacting to it, and documenting all of these activities.

Elements of incident management systems

The Incident operating system is the company’s systematic and coordinated responseto lessen the impacts ofincidents and determine their root cause to help curb future occurrences.

Image alt text: incident management. An emergency response team at an accident site to provide first aid.

Author credit: By Official U.S. Navy Page – https://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/7017606809/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48062285

It’s the collaborative work of multiple people using established procedures and technological aids to control crises as they arise. Some of these elements ensuring the success of the system include:


Everyone in the workplace, not just the safety officers, has a role to play here. First, an occurrence must be made public or reported to take appropriate action.

Everyone in the company affected by or seen an incident is responsible for reporting it as soon as possible to the relevant agency.

Process or Procedures

After an event has been reported, the appropriate measures will be taken, the cause of the incident will be determined, and the incident will be analyzed and closed. These steps are covered later in the article.


Instruments for reporting incidents include things like standardized forms, checklists, and apps that can be used to record information about incidents and quickly determine what needs to be done to fix them.

Activities involved in workplace incident management?

The processes involved in incident management can be categorized into several critical components, including the following:

Adequate preparation

The primary objective of incident management is to eliminate the possibility of future mishaps occurring. Organizations can accomplish this by conducting workplace risk assessments, determining the most likely events, and developing prevention and response strategies based on the most successful industry practices and previous incident data.

Quality audits should be performed regularly to help detect gaps in safety and personal growth initiatives and maintain compliance with federal laws.

Response Management

Accidents are an unavoidable part of life. When an incident does take place, businesses need to be prepared to react quickly and reduce the amount of damage caused.

Plans for responding to incidents need to detail how to resume your normal operations safely, treat injured workers, and handle immediate problems and losses. These procedures need to be documented.

The following components must be adhered to in order to achieve success in response management:

Develop an incident response plan: Your incident response plan has to define how your staff will handle each or every phase of an incident, who will be in charge of what, and what kinds of paperwork and notifications will be required.

Make sure the plan addresses the following:

  • How to react to potential dangers
  • How to lessen the impact of the potential risk to avoid causing additional harm
  • How to completely do away with the threat by doing away with the underlying cause

Emergency Response Group: In the case ofhealth and safety risks, all parties involved must be aware of their respective roles and what they are expected to do.The following are common positions on incident response teams.

  • Managers of emergency responses
  • Experts in analyzing health and safety risks
  • Investigators of Danger
  • Administration of Legal and Safety Threats
  • Commercial Transmissions
  • Administrative procedures for managing people (Human Resource Manager)

Steps for an effective incident response plan

To be successful in your incident response plan, you need to consider the following:

Classification or Identification of Events

When dealing with an incident, the first step is figuring out the problem. Because problems can develop at any point in a project, it’s necessary to document the time, date, location, nature of the problem, and—most importantly—the people involved.

Categorize the incidents

There needs to be precise incident categorization for proper incident resolution. By classifying information, your team members can do the following:

  • Quickly find a solution to the specific situation if it happens again
  • Correctly rank issues and categorize them by priority

Once an occurrence has been assigned a category, it should be filed in the correct folder so that the right people can keep an eye on it. Following the universally accepted method for classifying incidents, it is essential to work on strategies that will allow your team to quickly and accurately categorize incidents in the future.

Prioritize the incidents

After an occurrence has been recognized and labeled, it can be prioritized. There are a few crucial factors to think about when prioritizing operational incidents:

  • If there are more events, which ones are taking precedence?
  • What steps must you take?

You should prioritize fixing problems that will have noticeable effects immediately, as this is what contingency planning is all about. You’ll also need to determine how urgent issues are compared to other parts of the project.

After weighing these two criteria, you can begin working on the most pressing instances first.

Create a Corrective Measure or Action

Since workplace mishaps were foreseen in the light of identified risks, appropriate corrective measures should be taken to lessen the blow of occurrences and stop them from happening again.

If corrective measures are to be taken, they should be tracked to guarantee they are carried out as planned and the intended result is realized.

Conduct Adequate Research and Analysis

To prevent disruptions in operations and protect employees, adequate measures must be taken to remove or lessen the severity of potential risks and hazards in the workplace.

If an incident occurs, regardless of its severity, an investigation must be conducted to collect further data that will be reviewed to determine what went wrong and what new controls can be implemented to prevent a recurrence.

You can also undertake aroot cause analysis to determine the actual reason for an occurrence and put extra preventative measures in place.

When investigating a traumatic event, collecting private information about the people involved and the scene may be necessary, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, and photographs.

Resolution and closure

The core of the problem can only be addressed after the occurrence has been appropriately classified and prioritized. Regardless of how it’s categorized, the issue should be forwarded to the team most qualified to handle it.

Somebody with the best first aid techniquesshould be engaged or called to assist in a workplace emergency like a cut or bleeding. Furthermore, you wouldn’t want to worsen your patient’s lousy situation.

Image alt text: incident management. An emergency response van taking first aid attendants to the scene of incident.

Author credit: By Kevin M Klerks from Inverhuron, Canada – Emergency Services, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66247368

When the issue has been resolved to everyone’s approval, you can close the case and mark the incident as resolved. Documentation produced throughout the preceding steps should be saved in a co-working space for easy access.

Everything from a central online storage space to a specialized digital folder for a specific project fits this description.

Strategies of Enhancing Incident Management

Incident management is ongoing because threats and hazards are always changing. Always working to handle incidents better is important, so consider these pointers.

Preparation is key when handling incidents

Establish a method for reporting incidents and establishing lines of communication. When a safety event occurs, everyone in the company needs to know what to do and where to report it.

It’s essential to define and disseminate roles and responsibilities at all levels of the company to avoid paralysis in response to a crisis.

If photos can be taken, ask witnesses to upload them. In this approach, you can ensure that a thorough data collection phase begins immediately. Data and images are invaluable resources when trying to piece together the details of an occurrence.

More information is always better. To be well-prepared, one must collect as much data as possible and record critical data while it is still fresh in one’s mind.

Build Coordinated Processes

Create a procedure that enables firms to address critical aspects of managing risk smoothly, and use this workflow to document the process.

These skills include things like the identification, evaluation, and reporting of incidents, as well as effective communication, the assignment of work to the appropriate individuals, and the monitoring of information in real-time. The primary objective is to deal with situations and offer relevant answers effectively.

Prioritize Incidents

Place a strong emphasis on the significance of analyzing situations and classifying them by the amount of urgency they pose. This guarantees that significant errors, which can have an enormous impact on company activities or cause disruptions, are identified and corrected as quickly as feasible.

Ensure a Consistent Reporting

Incidents must be immediately reported after they take place in the workplace. This will ensure that managers and safety personnel are aware of any accidents occurring and that appropriate steps are taken.

Facilitate the collection of information and the submission of incident reports to guarantee prompt reporting of incidents.

But what’s the importance of incident reporting?

Offers a tremendous educational opportunity:The reporting of incidents provides valuable information that can be used to prevent future incidents.

Improve workplace safety awareness: When incidents are reported, it raises everyone’s consciousness of the importance of workplace safety and helps foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable.

Events and data help us stay vigilant and mindful of new threats. In the event of an impending catastrophe, they can serve as a timely warning.

Reporting alerts administration and management: When it comes to problems in the workplace, employees may often spot red flags before management can.

Comparatively, reporting costs less than other options:Many lives are lost in severe accidents on the job; in fact, 2 million people die at work every year.

Therefore, it makes much more sense financially and operationally to spend time and resources developing and maintaining an accident report platform that everyone in the company uses. The financial, physical, and psychological toll of a tragedy is incomparable.

Continued Pursuit of Action

Monitoring corrective actions are essential in ensuring that the appropriate procedures are carried out, and the desired outcomes are accomplished.

Therefore, ensure those responsible for performing corrective measures submit their feedback or progress updates in real-time through appropriate incident response management software. This would also ensure that actions can be turned into a cooperative process in managing incidents.

Provide Continuing Education in Risk Management

Various safety standards are continuously changing to accommodate the current safety hazards. For this reason, employers must ensure they offer periodic refresher training on safety and processes.

Consolidate preventative measures by holding workshops to fill knowledge gaps revealed by incident reviews. Use the many training resources available, which provide content that is used to train staff and managers quickly and easily.

Why you need to consider incident workplace safety programs

You and your employees have numerous wins when establishing and maintaining a secure workplace.

Workplace injuries are a costly and unpleasant struggle for employers, employees, and their families. But if you take the time to design and implement effective workplace safety initiatives, you stand to reap many rewards, including:

Improving safety and wellness

A safety program’s most evident advantage is the reduction of potential dangers to workers’ lives and health.

A well-thought-out plan guarantees your employees’ security while shielding your business’s resources, tools, and clientele from harm. Preventing risks to the team is much easier when issues are addressed before they escalate.

There are fewer costs

Developing a workplace safety program will incur initial expenses but will pay for itself in reduced losses and injuries. When employees are hurt on the job, it can lead to a slew of expensive costs, ranging from court and legal fees, higher insurance, high maintenance, and machine servings to sanctions by the authorities.

The organization will also need to train and replace the injured employees, which may be time-consuming and disrupts the workplace flow of activities.

Improvements employee-employer Relationships

Implementing a thorough safety program promotes stronger ties. Workers would be grateful for any measures taken to ensure their health and safety in the workplace.

The most effective safety plans often consist of:

  • Taking stock of every potential risk in the workplace
  • Examining more than simply the apparent threats
  • Including safeguards against threats to mental health in risk assessment
  • Making it easy for employees to talk to you about issues, queries, or suggestions
  • Implementing stringent guidelines for dealing with bullying and conflict in the workplace

Increases Workplace Productivity Level

When something goes wrong at your company, it throws everything off and makes everyone less effective. Everyone becomes extremely worried when one of their coworkers is hurt on the job, and employees will be less efficient and productive if they fear for their safety.

However, if there are concrete safety measures, workers may focus entirely on their tasks without worrying about their well-being.

Ensures happy workers

The most effective safety programs consider all facets of your employees’ health and happiness and seek to make everyone on the team more secure. Those who are physically and psychologically safe at work look forward to going to the office daily.

According to a recent study, workers who report high levels of job satisfaction are 20% more efficient than their dissatisfied counterparts. Employees who are happy in their jobs are more likely to stick around, which can only mean good things for your company’s bottom line.


A well-thought-out workplace safety policy and incident management plan can reduce the number of claims and costs associated with workers’ compensation lawsuits. The charges, productivity, and health of the workplace may all decrease with time.

Therefore, do enough preparation, design an effective incident response plan, categorize, prioritize and apply the best corrective accident safety plan.