20 Sep The first thing you should do when an incident occurs
Business operations move fast. So fast, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. More so if something happens that wasn’t planned. Things like a delivery doesn’t come as scheduled, an employee screws up a recipe, or you find out that some of your inventory items has been stolen.
When events that go beyond normal operations happen to my clients, I recommend one thing be done quickly: have people write incident reports as soon as possible. Incident reports serve to memorialize what actually happened so that when you’re ready to deal with the situation after stabilizing operations, the facts are memorialized. Think of it as a low tech (yet very effective) way to do crime scene photographs ala-CSI.
TIP: When you’re drafting Incident Reports, simpler is better. I tell my clients, “Guys, there’s no need to make incident reports complicated. As long as the basic narrative is there, we’re good.”
And what are the basic elements? The report should be able to answer:
- WHO – List down the people involved.
- WHAT – Describe what was items/equipment were involved or what happened.
- WHERE – Give the location where the incident occurred.
- WHEN – Date and time, if possible.
- WHY & HOW– If the employee could point out the source or caused the incident, then by all means put it there (subject to verification, of course)
If you’re the supervisor, just run thru this checklist to see if the incident report is sufficient. If it lacks any of these items, feel free to send it back to the employee and have them fill in the necessary blanks. In fact, feel free to print these descriptions out on your incident reports to guide your people what to write down.