Are you looking to take your organization’s incident reporting to the next level?
Do you want to contain workplace incidents more efficiently?
Do you want better communication with your staff?
Or more detailed incident reports that provide actionable data?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you need to equip your employees with the right tools!
So, what are the top five incident reporting tools?
- Incident reporting form
- Cloud-based storage
- Mobile devices
- Incident management software
- Commercial test management tool
Without the right data collection tools, incident reporting can seem like a never ending mountain of paperwork. Between safety walkthroughs, audits and training, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
But with the right tools, you can share everything in real-time, save a ton of time on filing, storage and reclamation, and improve your workplace’s safety too!
Incident reporting doesn’t have to consume all your time from other important tasks. Data gathering tools can help you gather incident reports more efficiently, and more accurately, helping improve your safety decisions and build a strong safety culture in your organization.
Ready to find out more?
Then let’s dive right in!
Incident reporting tool 1. Incident reporting form
Top on our list of incident reporting tools is the humble incident reporting form.
It’s doesn’t matter whether the report is paper-based or electronic, or whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud.
You need one!
So, what separates an okay incident reporting form from a truly great one?
In last week’s post, we shared the six key elements that every good incident report should include.
In case you missed it, the six key elements are every good incident report should have are:
Want to know more about these key elements? Then read our full guide to the six key elements in a good incident report.
But if you’re looking for a quick summary, here goes:
Good incident report forms take a holistic approach to incident reporting. This means that they cover all types of incidents including lagging indicators (reports of incidents taken after they have finished) and leading indicators (those that indicate the risk of an incident occurring).
The four main types of incidents are:
- Near misses
Situations where people could have been injured, but, luckily nothing came to pass.
- No harm events
Operational risks that all staff across an organization should be made aware of.
- Adverse events
Adverse events are related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines.
- Sentinel events
Sentinel events are unexpected events that result in any type of harm.
Good incident reports contain enough space for accurate details that leave little room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.
Incident reports should be fact-based, and not based on opinions or subjective comments.
As noted by Safe Work Australia‘s best-practice guidelines for Australian businesses, all notifiable incidents MUST be reported to the local authorities. Therefore, incident reports should contain enough data to help key safety professionals in an organization investigate the incident and determine the root cause.
With companies increasingly moving towards incident reporting software, the best incident report forms are data-driven. Employees can attach photos, videos, audio recordings and other annotations and notes to any report they create and submit.
The sixth element of good incident report forms is cloud functionality. Cloud-based software means that any employee can access the system from any smartphone or tablet. Offline capabilities mean that even remote users without an internet connection can capture data such as photos and audio files and then sync with the cloud when they regain connectivity.
Incident reporting tool 2. Cloud-based storage
When it comes to incident reporting, cloud-storage one of the most important tools. We’ve already touched on the benefits of using a cloud-based incident report, but you can also use cloud storage with a range of other offline options.
As we explained in our comprehensive guide to incident reporting systems, at the simplest level, you can use a cloud-based spreadsheet service such as Google Sheets to record, log and investigate incidents, accidents and near-misses. By sharing access to this file across your organization you can benefit from the following benefits:
- Efficient management of workplace incidents
- Real-time updates for all members of your organization
- Unlimited storage of reports, attachments, and data.
Cloud-based storage lets you use real-time alerts, detailed incident reports, and actionable data to better equip employees to handle incidents safely.
To unlock the full benefits of cloud-based storage, you need cloud-based incident reporting software. This empowered your employees by letting them access your incident management system from any device and submit a report at the time and place of their choosing.
Cloud-based software offers the ultimate in convenience, giving you an efficient, secure solution to storing reports online and letting you respond quickly to field events with the minimum of fuss.
- Capture and report incidents
- Manage and collaborate incident responses
- Notify team members about upcoming events and react to developments
- Review and summarize steps that help minimize risk
- Generate reports that help address safety issues
Wondering how cloud-based incident reporting software does all this?
Think of all the old paper incident reports that your organization keeps in a binder. Cloud-based incident reporting software lifts these forms to the cloud where members of your organization can access them via the web on any mobile device as and when required.
A cloud-based approach lets you:
- Generate and submit incident reports from any computer or mobile device.
- Create your own customized incident report forms that contain exactly the data you need.
- Upload photos, videos and audio files to any report.
- Create incident reports even when your device is offline.
Incident reporting tool 3: Mobile devices
Many firms choose to invest in cloud-based incident reporting software for the numerous advantages that this approach offers over paper-based systems. But the key tool that makes this possible is the humble mobile device. That’s why the third tool on our list that will make your life easier is mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
To get the most out of a cloud-based approach to incident reporting, you need a mobile device such as:
- Hybrid tablet/laptop
Cloud-based incident reporting and mobile devices go together like peanut butter and jelly; cloud-based systems are device-agnostic meaning that they work as web apps on any device, regardless of manufacturer and platform (Windows, Android, iOS).
Most leading software also offers native Android and iOS apps designed to work specifically on those operating systems. This means that employees can even use their personal computers, phones or tablets to access the incident reporting system and generate and submit their own reports.
Why mobile devices?
Mobile devices are highly portable, so employees can generate incident reports on the spot, instead of having to wait until they have access to a computer before making reports. Mobile devices are packed full of useful tech that lets users:
- Take photos of the incident and attach to the report
- Take audio recordings of victims or witnesses
- Take video clips showing damage
- Annotate and/or illustrate media to provide investigators with helpful tools
Tool 4: Incident management software
So far, we’ve already touched on some examples of how incident management software helps organizations. While it is possible to use the first three tools – incident report forms, cloud-storage, and mobile devices – to develop an effective incident reporting system, most companies decide to invest in dedicated incident management software.
Incident management software is an all-inclusive solution to efficiently contain and manage workplace incidents. The software provides everything a company needs to run its incident reporting strategy.
- The incident report form
- The cloud-based storage
- The management apps for mobile devices
Incident management systems let organizations use real-time alerts and detailed incident reports to help employees to handle incidents safely. They are perfect for small and medium businesses in any industry, from entrepreneurs to educational institutes and even non-profits.
The software provides everything a company needs to improve its incident management, including:
- Training (in-person and live online)
If your organization is looking to drive operational excellence, incident reporting software could be what you need.
Incident reporting tool 5: Commercial test management tool
The fifth incident reporting tool on our list is the commercial test management tool. If you’re serious about incident reporting, this tool is absolutely invaluable. Commercial tests are an essential aspect of running an organization and having a specific management tool to help you report the statistics and metrics from any incidents that occur is a must.
Why invest in a commercial test management tool?
Test management tools help you:
- Gather invaluable stats about incidents including the total number of incidents reported, whether they are open or closed, the number of incidents with each status and the average open time.
- Prioritize incidents according to available resources and manpower.
- Attachment storage – you can collect screenshots of incident reports and file them alongside the incident reports.
- Assign actions to members of your organization such as conducting confirmation tests and fixing issues.
Having the right commercial test management tool makes reporting incidents and making observations on the go a breeze with any device. You can customize the reporting categories, assign people to specific roles, add images and use statistics to analyse the risks and trends present in your organization.
Why is this helpful?
Your organization’s business process relies on your reacting and responding to incidents in a timely, effective manner. An incident may start in the field, but the response will be decided away from the field. A comprehensive commercial test management tool helps ensure that all relevant stakeholders have the data and facts necessary to formulate the ideal response. You’ll never miss an important field event when you invest in a commercial test management tool.
What are some of the benefits of commercial test management tools?
At a senior management level, test management tools offer three main benefits to any organization.
- Identifying the most common incidents
- Developing your safety systems and safety culture
- Scheduled maintenance and repairs
Let’s explore these exciting benefits!
Identifying the most common incidents
To work towards developing a safer workplace environment, the senior managers need access to up-to-date information about the most common types of incidents that occur. While it’s true that you can gather most information from your OSHA logs, having a commercial test management tool automates the process, eliminating errors and giving you more accurate data. This makes management’s job easier and lets them focus resources on areas where the majority of incidents are occurring.
Developing your safety systems and safety culture
The second main benefit of investing in a commercial test management tool is that it increases accountability for your staff. By giving them the tools and software necessary to report incidents in a timely, comprehensive manner, you make them accountable for incidents.
Commercial test management tools help you assign duties to staff and automatically track their progress, sending them reminder emails if work stalls or if a deadline is missed. This helps create a better safety culture in your organization by involving everyone in safety tasks.
Scheduled maintenance and repairs
A commercial test management tool ensures that your systems and process are regularly inspected and lets you know when your equipment is due for maintenance. This helps you schedule maintenance and repairs to prevent serious incidents and manage your budget cost-effectively. By streamlining your maintenance schedules, you can significantly reduce the loss of tools and equipment. This won’t just save your organization money; it will keep all aspects of your operations much safer.
In this guide, we’ve covered the top five incident reporting tools that will make your job easier. A well-designed incident reporting form will help your staff report incidents with enough detail for further investigations to understand what happened. Cloud-based storage and mobile devices will ensure that all members of your organization can create, save and share reports in real-time wherever they are. Rounding off our list, having comprehensive incident management software and a commercial test management tool will help you keep ahead of the curve on your organization’s incident management.