Incident Reporting in the Workplace
Published: 30 August 2022
Published: 30 August 2022
Incident reporting is an accountability of all staff working in healthcare facilities.
Knowing how to fill out an incident report is necessary knowledge for any professional. An incident report should be completed immediately after an incident has occurred and appropriate corrective action followed.
Incident reports are integral to a functional healthcare system that is committed to ongoing improvement and transparency.
The following is intended as a general guide to filling out an incident report. Your organisation may have certain criteria involved in completing an incident report and it is advised that you make yourself aware of the appropriate policies specific to your facility.
Incident reporting relates to the following Australian healthcare standards:
An incident is anything that happens out of the ordinary in a facility. Specifically, unplanned events or situations that result in, or have the potential to result in injury, ill health, damage or loss (WorkSafe Tasmania 2022).
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2021) defines a clinical incident as ‘an event or circumstance that resulted, or could have resulted, in’:
This may include an omission of care that would have likely benefited the patient or consumer (ACSQHC 2021).
Clinical incidents could involve:
(Hooiveld 2022; Benalla Health 2011; Australian Digital Health Agency 2022)
Sentinel events are a subtype of clinical incidents that are considered the most serious incidents. They are entirely preventable incidents that result in the serious harm to or death of a patient (ACSQHC 2020).
There are 10 nationally-recognised sentinel events in Australia. They are:
(Benalla Health 2011)
Take into consideration the above examples as well as other issues as outlined by your organisation.
Healthcare services must report all sentinel events that occur via their state or territory’s incident reporting system (SCV 2022).
Under the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) introduced in 2021, aged care providers are required to report eight types of incidents to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission:
For more information on the SIRS, see Ausmed’s Training Module: Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS).
Once an incident has been identified, you must:
(ACSQHC 2021; SA Health 2017)
Once the situation has been made safe, document information regarding the care provided prior to and following the incident in a medical record. Ensure preventative measures are in place in anticipation of further injury. Inform a line manager and, if appropriate, preserve evidence in the surrounding area (SA Health 2017).
An incident report requires questions relevant to who, what, when, where, how and why to be completed (Safe Work Australia 2015).
(Safe Work Australia 2015; NSWNMA 2020)
(NSWNMA 2020; ACSQHC 2021)
Any staff member who witnesses an incident has an accountability to report it. Visitors, community members, students, contractors, patients/clients/residents and volunteers may also witness incidents and need to communicate this to the nominated person within the organisation they are in.
Local policies and procedures will guide who makes the actual written submission using the risk management tool or software provided by your organisation.
An incident report not only has the potential to shed light on a particular incident, but may reveal room for improvement in systems, procedures and environments.
In addition, an incident report:
(SA Health 2017)
Question 1 of 3
Which one of the following is a non-clinical reportable incident?