Incident Reporting: Speak Up!


The reporting of all incidents is a key part of measuring performance and improving safety in day to day operations. Many factors, ranging from personal perception to culture, have the ability to influence reporting onsite. This campaign aims to propose ways to increase incident reporting, with emphasis on learning vital lessons before disaster strikes.

Near misses, as well as safety observations, provide “lessons” prior to actual damage, injury or loss. This opportunity to maximize on the identification and correction of failures, beforehand, should be a top priority on local safety agendas. The campaign will focus on clearly differentiating between safety observations, near misses and accidents in order to mitigate confusion and boost the accuracy of reports and the quality of the vital lessons that are shared.

A combination of tips and tricks are hereby proposed, to help tackle some of the factors that may influence the incident reporting process. Examples of reporting methods will also be included, as potential options to maximize the convenience of the reporting process.


1. Increase Top - Down Communication 

Use every appropriate opportunity for Top and Middle management to endorse proactive reporting. This can help to create a sense of urgency and highlight the expectation of management, in relation to reporting habits onsite. 

Tip: Use existing/new events where top or middle management addresses the workforce, to push the reporting agenda (incl. reporting expectations and the no blame policy).

2. Clearly Differentiate Safety Observations, Near Misses and Accidents:

Does the workforce know the difference? Use various communication tools to communicate incident definitions. Visual examples can help to aid the understanding of the differences between safety observations, near misses and accidents. Making a clear distinction will be key in achieving accurate reports.

Tip: Use Posters, animations, safety briefings (toolboxes), formal and informal verbal communication to repeat the definition(s) & the highlight the differences.


3. Involve your colleagues: Ask how they would prefer to report

Unlike accidents which are more obvious indications of existing failures, safety observations and near misses may easily go unreported. Stimulating the workforce to actively report is key. Keep in mind that the ways in which individuals may feel comfortable reporting may vary. Some may prefer to report directly to superiors, whereas others may opt for more discrete reporting methods. Setting up reporting methods, onsite, that are convenient to the workforce is an important part of stimulating proactive reporting habits. Consider asking workers in a toolbox how they would like to report.

Tip: Ask both production and office personnel. After receiving the answers from the workforce, consider implementing two of the most preferred methods, of each target group, to satisfy a larger majority. Ensure to keep NM reporting forms, in particular, as brief as possible (see example attachments).

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Guiding principle incident reporting

Incident Reporting Proposal: Tips and Tricks