The Dos & Don’ts of Incident Reporting
Incident reporting is an excellent way to improve child safety. It’s a proactive tool that helps prevent accidents, reduce injury, and resolve common hazards before a more serious or costly event occurs. In some states, insurance companies require that organizations keep a record of all accidents, near misses, or suspected child abuse and neglect for ongoing risk assessment and coverage.
GuideOne Insurance defines an incident for reporting as “Any time an accident happens that requires the injured to stop the normal activity or receive first aid, medical attention or other outside intervention.”
So how does an organization cover its bases? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help establish your process and continue to build a safety-minded culture.
- Do have a good incident report and process available on how to complete and submit it. Check with your insurance provider for one they have available and would like you to use
- Do complete the report immediately after the incident when details are clear
- Do only report what you saw and heard when completing the form – no second or third-party hearsay
- Do educate staff and volunteers on where to find the report, the process for completion, and distribution to the appropriate people after an incident
- Do notify the child or children’s guardians or parents immediately of any incidents and provide copies of the documentation
- Do use photos to capture the details or injury during an incident
- Do establish either a secure hardcopy or digital repository for keeping all incident response documentation
- Don’t try to guess what happened or report subjective, emotional, or opinionated statements. Facts only!
- Don’t provide only one side of the story. If two parties are involved, ensure they are equally represented in reporting
- Don’t diagnose an injury. Call the first-response professionals if needed
- Don’t forget to train staff and volunteers on incident response and reporting
- Don’t make a copy of the incident report public
- Don’t wait to develop a response process and obtain an incident report
After an incident is reported, it should always be taken seriously. There should never be a time when kids, staff, and volunteers are reprimanded for sharing what they witnessed or reporting an incident. By following the organization’s reporting process and ensuring all facts have been gathered, any preventive or corrective actions to prevent future incidents should happen.
We will never eliminate all the bumps, bruises, and other incidents that occur when children get together. However, we can continue to uncover valuable information that increases safety ownership within your organization and prevent future incidents.
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