The importance of incident reports

What is an incident?

An incident is an unforeseen event that (just barely) does not result in injury or damages. This is sometimes called an ‘whew moment’. We can further illustrate this with the example below.


The first drawing shows unsafe working conditions, as one of the ladder rungs is broken. As soon as the employee steps onto the ladder, this becomes an unsafe act. In drawing 3, the worker falls off the ladder due to the broken rung, but he can still catch himself, so he does not injure himself. This is called a near-accident. The last drawing shows the scenario of an accident, in which the employee falls on the ground resulting in an injury.

What is the purpose of an incident report?

We can illustrate the usefulness of an incident report by using the iceberg theory or Heinrich’s safety pyramid. This pyramid shows the relationship between (fatal) accidents and incidents. This approach states that every fatal accident is preceded by many unsafe acts.


It is therefore important to take measures at the base of the pyramid. Incident reports help you understand what goes wrong and where you can make improvements. Tackling unsafe acts must be the foundation, and this should result in a reduction in the number of accidents.

How do I best manage this?

Incident reporting is usually very difficult, because it occurs on a voluntary basis, and the reporter often fears negative consequences. It is therefore important that the incident registration process is organized in a simple and reliable way, possibly linked to a reward system.

VARIO allows you to register, centralize and manage incident reports. The registration can take place in a variety of ways. The employees can be asked to fill in the report forms, which are then later digitized so they can be investigated.

In addition, it is also possible to generate digital reports directly, after which the report is sent to the appropriate responsible person.

Perhaps the most efficient way is to register the incidents via our VARIO Mobile App, which can also function completely offline. This way, any employee can report an incident at any time, including any relevant photos. And, the person responsible can immediately formulate the necessary actions.