In 2017, private industry employers reported nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. In addition to accidents like these, every workplace faces incidents, from cybersecurity issues to fraud.
Logging incidents can help you quickly spot areas of risk so you can correct and prevent repeat issues faster. When you want to review your workplace’s incident history without reading through hundreds of incident reports, a log provides the bare-bones details you need. In addition, it can improve your compliance with various regulations and reporting requirements, plus reduce your risk of losing incident details before filing a full report.
Use our free incident log template to start recording incidents in your workplace.
Types of Incidents to Log
Whether you work in a high-risk industry such as construction or law enforcement, or in an office environment, incidents are inevitable. However, different industries face different types of workplace issues.
Types of incidents you should log for risk management include:
- Injuries and illnesses
- Near misses
- Data breaches
- Information security incidents
- Workplace violence
- Physical security incidents
- Fraud and theft
You may want to keep multiple incident logs for different types of incidents. This makes it easier to organize your risk management plan. For example, keeping one log for injuries and near misses and another for information and data security issues streamlines your corrective action process.
OSHA 300 Log
You may be required by OSHA to log injuries and illnesses that happen in your workplace. If an employee sustains a new work-related injury on the job or their work aggravates an existing medical condition, you must record the incident in OSHA’s 300 Log form.
Employers must record injuries for all of their employees, including temporary and contract workers. If they’re on your payroll and you supervise their work, they’re covered by the log.
Your organization is exempt from keeping an OSHA 300 Log if:
- You employ 10 or fewer employees (including contract and temporary employees) all year round AND/OR
- You work in a low-hazard industry, as defined by OSHA
In some cases, even exempt organizations may be asked to keep a log. Employers must also be able to produce a copy of their Log 300 during OSHA inspections.
Need help determining if and how you should record an injury? Use our helpful OSHA Incident Report Flowchart.
Why You Should Keep An Incident Log
Logging incidents isn’t just busywork. Neglecting to record a workplace incident increases your risk of forgetting details or that the incident happened at all. If you don’t log an incident, you might not track it and if you don’t track it, you’ll fail to correct the issue and prevent it from happening again.
Incident logs are also key to a compliant workplace. As mentioned above, you may be required to log injuries for OSHA. Keeping an up-to-date log for incidents of fraud and theft or data breaches ensures you report to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner.
Each logged incident should also have a full report in your records. Download our free incident report template here.
How to Maintain a Successful Incident Log
Because each incident should have its own full report, your log should simply contain:
- the type of incident
- who was involved
- when and where the incident happened
- a few details about the incident
Anyone can keep an incident log, but if it isn’t reducing the number of workplace incidents or at least helping you track them, it’s not a success. Make it worth your time by following these four steps:
- Perform regular reviews. Review your log daily, weekly and monthly to spot incident trends. You’ll discover and respond to problems faster, reducing your risk of further incidents.
- Be proactive. Being able to quickly visualize incident patterns means you can stop problems before they start. Use the log to make a plan to eliminate repeat issues.
- Train employees. Direct staff on how to properly log a workplace incident. When they know what information to include in a log entry, you won’t have to hunt down details days or weeks later.
- Use case management software. A web-based case management solution keeps your logged incidents organized, plus you can generate incident reports with one click. Create graphs and charts to spot incident trends for risk analysis.