Incident and accident reports fall under a category of reports called informative, informal reports. They use the memorandum format because the writer is communicating internally — with his supervisor.
The report follows the basic outline:
Here are some content ideas that you can incorporate to help you develop your report.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
What to include
– state your purpose or reason for writing (can come at the end or beginning)
Examples of Purpose vocabulary
The purpose of this report is to explain the circumstances surrounding the injury received by John Brown ……
The purpose of this report is to provide an account of (WHAT HAPPENED)
The purpose of this report is the describe the accident that led to the death/ hand injury/chemical spill/fire/ etc . . .
– Summarize the 4 W facts
- WHAT happened (outcome of accident and/or nature of injury, if it is an injury report)
- WHO was injured or nearly injured (Use correct name of person if you are writing as an eye-witness; use ‘I’ if writing about your own injury. Read the scenario/case study question to be sure you have understood the point of view you are writing from.)
- WHERE (the site of the accident– if on the premises, state the building or space where it occurred and use the phrase ‘on the premises’; if the accident occurred outside of company grounds, state the accident site, (Highway 2000 Project site or Digicel Building Construction Site, 33 Dunmore Street, Kingston 10) as well as name of building or site and street address)
- WHEN (state the exact time period if it happened within a 24 hour period (you would have written the date in the memo heading already. Also state the time of the accident/injury/death; E.g. at 9:15 this morning)
Description of Accident
Answer the question HOW here. How did this accident occur? Detail the chronology of the events as they happened in time, that is from beginning to end. You don’t have to mention every detail. Here’s a plan I ask my students to use to arrange this section, which by the way should be written in paragraphs.
Paragraph 2 : Set the context of the incident for the readers, your simulated reader (supervisor) and your instructor. State what time you arrived at work. What task you were assigned. Provide details. You may use technical jargon since you are writing to a supervisor. Mention any other members of your work team.(by name if it is less than five, by number if it is more)
Paragraph 3. BEFORE THE ACCIDENT: Devote this paragraph to a description of the events leading up to the accident time.
Paragraph 4: DURING THE ACCIDENT: Describe the moment when man encounters hazard. Use spatial description here to identify the location of the person at the time, the location of the hazardous condition; any hazardous behaviour/activity that preceded the accident. Name any machine, tools, substances, and equipment involved. Describe what you see and how you observed it. Where were you and what were you doing when you were alerted ton the dangerous occurrence?
Paragraph 5 AFTER THE ACCIDENT: What was your first response to the injury? If it is an eye witness report state what first aid you rendered or sought for the injured person. What medical assistance did the person receive, if any? What medical facility was person transported to, time of arrival, his state of consciousness and body part, state
- what first aid you rendered or sought for the injured person.
- what medical assistance the person received, if any.
- what medical facility the injured person was transported to
- the time of arrival
- his state of consciousness, and
- body part injured.
If you are writing about a resulting fatality, do not state that the person has died, even if it appears so after the accident; you may describe how he looks using phrases like, ‘lying motionless,’ ‘unresponsive’, or ‘appeared unconscious’ ; report death only after the victim is pronounced dead by a medical practitioner authorized to do so. You can also quote sources such as an investigating officer from the Police or Fire Department.
Conclusion (See Note below)
State the outcome of the accident and the direct cause of the injury/ accident.By direct cause, I mean the physical cause of accident.
- Mr. Jones’ accident was not intentional and resulted when he stepped on a loose rung of a defective ladder that had not been inspected before use.
- Mr. Thomas suffered a head injury because he was not wearing a hard hat at the time.
- According to the medical team at St Joseph’s Hospital, the cause of death was cardiac arrest, which he suffered when 2000 volts of electricity passed through his body when the metal ladder he was standing on came into contact with high voltage overhead power lines.
Employees are generally not authorized to do accident investigations as this is the role of the supervisor or the company’s Safety Committee or accident investigation unit of your company. Once your supervisor or the person you report to receives an accident report such as the one below, he should conduct an investigation and analysis of the accident and compile a more detailed report. You may be taught to write these detailed accident investigation reports at NVQ-J Level 3, since you would be training for supervisory roles at work.
Despite this fact, however, the unit competency standard for both Basic and Advanced paper requires that writers write recommendations. Even though these section will not apply to reports made by entry-level workers in the workplace, during my time instructing in the Units, I trained learners to add a Conclusions and Recommendations section to the basic accident report, so as to meet the evidence requirements of the assessment.
Follow your tutor’s instruction as it relates to an approach to this section. Your tutor really has the final say, and will outline his/her expectations for the reports you do in class.
Now, here is an example of a basic accident report you’ll be asked to write in the Technical Report Writing (Basic) course. (Note that the Conclusion Section is missing)
To: Roland Troy – Supervisor
From: Romaine Barnes – Welder/Fabricator
Date: January 24, 2008
Subject: Team Member Injured in Workshop accident
The purpose of this report is to inform you of an accident involving a member of our work team in the Welding Shop yesterday which resulted in him receiving burn injuries.
On Monday, the 23rd of January, at about 1:15 p.m., Mr. Alvin James, a member of our welding team, accidentally suffered burn injuries inside the shop while the team was undertaking a welding task.
Team member, Mr. Everald Jones had just begun welding a piece of metal, when Mr. James walked by and accidentally kicked a piece of scrap that had fallen to the ground. Assuming that it was cold, Mr. Jones picked it up and made to throw it in the scrap bin when it scorched him. He was not wearing his safety gloves at the time.
Mrs. Stewart, the janitor, who was in the vicinity at the time, quickly fetched a basin of water and placed his hand in. I also retrieved and applied some first aid ointment to the wound. Mr. Jones and I took him to the Sick Bay, where Nurse Althea Thomas examined the wound and asked me to rush him to the Spanish Town Hospital.
On our arrival at the hospital, Mr. James was taken to the Emergency Department where he was treated and hospitalized in stable condition.
He suffered severe burns to his fingers and hand.
We will look at writing the Conclusion and Recommendations section of the report in another post, along with other sample reports.
How does the report structure above resemble or differ from the reports you write at work? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Like this post, if you found it useful. Look to the top right of this page for the Follow button. Follow me to receive updates every time I post.
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