Incident reporting

When to report an incident

In case of an incident, make detailed written notes straight afterward, including from other witnesses. Do not gossip the incident, but do not try to cover it up.

Report the matter to your supervisor immediately, who will report it to the insurer. If the matter goes to court, you may be required to demonstrate that you comply with world best practice.

Your insurance cover should cover public liability, but you should comply with insurance requirements for it to be effective.

Complete an incident report form if an incident:

  • causes injury, or
  • causes serious property damage, or
  • will result in an insurance claim of any kind, or
  • is traumatic and causes extreme stress, fear (or threatens to so) or
  • has legal implications, for example:
    • a person becomes angry and potentially violent
    • a person may be prosecuted or sued
    • a person threatens you with prosecution or litigation
    • affects a student on a student visa
    • a person threatens to make a formal complaint, especially to a government supervisory body
    • a person makes statements affecting a potential court action later on (e.g. non-payment of debt, etc.)

Your supervisor may decide to conduct an investigation if it is thought necessary.


How to report an incident

  1. Fill the incident report form in as soon as possible after the incident while your memories are still very fresh. It needs to be contemporaneous.
  2. If possible, have someone witness your signature, and give the date and time. This will help ensure that it is accepted as contemporaneous.
  3. Please initial and date every page. This will prevent the accusation that pages have been added or replaced later on.
  4. Clip the pages together and make sure it gets to the right person. Keep a photocopy for your own records.
  5. If you find weaknesses in the format of your organization's forms, refer suggested improvements to your staff meeting.
  6. What to put in and what to leave out:
    1. Stick to factual information and keep an objective tone.
    2. List what happened in the order it occurred.
    3. Don't hide details if they are relevant.
    4. You may have to be blunt to be clear. Don't be vague and indirect about a problem to avoid an unpleasant truth; you don't want the investigator to misunderstand your notes.
    5. You can include straightforward reports of events.
    6. You can include direct quotes of what people said if it is relevant.

Unless you have been told to use another form, please use this one:

Form for reporting incidents

If you've viewed the form, you're finished now and can close this window.

Otherwise, you can go back to the start page