Incident Management

When it comes to workplace health and safety, incident management involves a systematic process of identifying, reporting, and responding to incidents that occur on the job. This is done to reduce risks, keep employees safe and healthy, and prevent similar incidents from happening again. This process includes several steps to effectively handle incidents, whether they are minor or more serious. 

What is a workplace Incident?

An incident refers to any unexpected, undesirable, or disruptive event or occurrence. In a workplace setting, incidents are events, conditions, or situations that do or can potentially cause harm to people, property, or the environment. These incidents can have a negative impact on business operations or a worksite/project, and they can pose a significant risk of injury to employees or harm the company's reputation.


Examples of workplace incidents can include:

  • Accidents involving machinery, equipment, or vehicles
  • Injuries to workers or visitors
  • Chemical spills or leaks
  • Fires or explosions
  • Structural failures or collapses
  • Security incidents, such as theft or violence, data breaches
  • Natural disasters

It is crucial for businesses to have a prepared response plan for workplace incidents and to provide training for their employees on how to handle emergencies. As a component of the safety plan, employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have a means of reporting incidents. By doing so, the effects of an incident can be minimised, and the well-being of employees, visitors, and the community can be ensured.

Common Types of Workplace Incidents


These can include vehicle accidents, falls, cuts, burns, or other types of physical harm resulting from the use of equipment, machinery, or other work-related activities. 


This can include strains, sprains, or other types of physical or psychological harm resulting from repetitive motions, heavy lifting, or other work demands.

Chemical spills or leaks

These can occur when chemicals are not stored or handled properly and can harm people, property, or the environment.

Fires or Explosions

Can be caused by electrical malfunctions, improper storage of flammable materials, or other causes and can result in serious harm to people, property, or the environment.

Structural failures or collapses

These can occur in buildings, bridges, or other structures and can seriously harm people and property.

Security incidents 

Can include theft, violence & harassment. Security incidents can also pose a threat to information technology (IT) systems or cyber security, such as data breaches & network outages.

Natural Disasters

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or other types of natural events that can disrupt workplace operations and cause harm to people, property, or the environment.


Could include musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other types of harm resulting from improper workplace design or equipment use.

Near Miss 

An event where no one was injured, but the event had the potential to cause harm as identified by the risks.

Incident, Accident & Near Miss - What's the difference

In a workplace setting, incident, injury, accident and near miss are terms that are often used to describe different types of events. All unexpected workplace events are incidents. However, not all incidents are accidents, injuries or near-misses.

An incident is an event that occurs in a workplace that can potentially cause harm to people, property, or the environment and can cause delays to business operations. It can result in injury or damage but can also be an event that does not necessarily cause harm. 

An accident is an incident that did cause harm or damage to a person, the environment, businesses or equipment. An injury that occurs from an accident can range from a minor cut or bruise to a more serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. 

A near miss is an event that has the potential to cause harm but does not actually result in injury or damage. For example, a near miss could be a piece of equipment that nearly falls on someone but is caught in time or a chemical spill that is contained before it reaches a harmful level.

It's important to report and track any incidents, accidents, injuries and near misses, as they can provide valuable information for identifying and addressing potential hazards in the workplace. This can help to prevent future incidents and improve overall safety in the workplace.

When to report an incident

An incident at a workplace should be reported after an accident, near miss or an unexpected or adverse event has occurred. In Australia, people conducting a business or undertaking must by law, notify their WHS regulator when a notifiable incident occurs. These include the death of a person, serious injury or illness, and dangerous incidences that exposes someone to a serious risk, even if no one is injured. 

Some other factors to consider:

Legal requirements: There may be legal requirements that require you to report incidents, such as workplace safety regulations, environmental regulations, or laws relating to the reporting of certain types of crimes.

Company policy: Your business may have a policy in place that requires the reporting of incidents, near misses, or other types of events.

Importance of information for investigation: Reporting incidents can provide valuable information for investigating the root cause of an event and taking steps to prevent similar incidents in the future.

If you're unsure whether you need to report an incident, it's best to err on the side of caution and report it. By doing so, you can help to ensure that appropriate action is taken to address the situation and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Incident Management System

Why does incident management matter?

Incident management is the process of coordinating and directing resources to respond to an unexpected event or situation that has the potential to cause harm, disruption, or damage. 

Incident management is important for a number of reasons, including:

  • Ensuring the safety of employees, customers, and the public: By responding quickly and effectively to incidents, organisations can help minimise the impact of an event and ensure the safety of those affected.
  • Protecting property and assets: Incident management can help to protect the organisation's physical property, as well as its financial, legal, and reputational assets.
  • Minimising disruption to operations: Incident management can help to minimise the disruption caused by an event, allowing the organisation to continue operating as normally as possible.
  • Improving organisational resilience: By having a plan in place for responding to incidents and regularly testing and refining that plan, organisations can improve their overall resilience and ability to respond to future incidents.
  • Enhancing public trust and confidence: Effective incident management can help to enhance public trust and confidence in an organisation by demonstrating its commitment to safety, security, and responsible behaviour.

The occurrence of an incident may introduce hazards or risks to a business and its employees and negatively impact the business as a whole. Incidents can potentially pose serious risks and uncertainties to an organisation and its personnel. Failing to take appropriate action or neglecting to report and investigate incidents may result in their recurrence with even more severe consequences.

What is an Incident Management System?

An incident management system refers to the systematic process of identifying, reporting, and responding to workplace incidents in order to mitigate risks, ensure the safety and well-being of employees, and understand the root cause of the incident to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.


To ensure safety, everyone in the business, including employees and stakeholders, should report any incident they experience or witness to the responsible authority e.g. their manager, HR or a dedicated safety team.



Reporting an incident is crucial as it ensures proper documentation and recording, followed by appropriate response or action. Subsequently, an investigation and analysis should be conducted, and once all steps are completed, the incident can be closed out.


Reporting tools

To capture incident details and assign corrective action quickly, incident reporting tools like incident report forms, checklists, and apps can be used.

1. Report

All incidents should be reported immediately & with as much information as possible via the tools provided. This ensures that the incident is documented, the correct people are notified & prompts a response or action to be taken.


2. Respond

Through risk identification, incidents in the workplace are often identified already & appropriate responsive action plans are in place.  Ensuring the desired outcomes are always met relies heavily on monitoring the implementation and completion of these actions.

3. Investigate

It's important to investigate why an incident occurred and its impact on the business & its operations. An investigation will usually gather all the available information, such as photos, speak to all those involved,  and analyse if there are many gaps in safety processes. 

4. Closeout

Closing out an incident is crucial after taking corrective actions and conducting a thorough investigation. It shows that and all necessary measures have been taken and helps identify areas for improvement.

Incident Management Software

Incident Management Software is an integral part of health, safety and environmental compliance. The ability to react quickly to log, communicate and escalate incidents goes a long way in mitigating negative outcomes.


Faster Escalation

Incidents can be reported in real-time. Notifiable incidents can be escalated and addressed within the prescribed regulatory timeframe.

Quicker Resolution

All information, data and actions are located in one area meaning traceability of all information, decision-making and accountability protocols.

Better Reporting

Software allows for efficient data collection and better analysis tools. Ensuring continuous improvement of safety processes. 

Using Lucidity for Incident Management

Lucidity’s incident management software brings all company-wide incidents and events into a central issues register. 

When an incident is reported, the system triggers relevant alerts and workflows based on factors like severity, project, or nature of the event. Notifications ensure that the right people are alerted for prompt investigations, follow-up actions, and close-out.

With the Lucidity mobile app, employees can easily report incidents, hazards, and non-conformances from their phones, triggering alerts and workflows for quick management and actions.

The incident management system also includes a dedicated section for managing processes, allowing easy access to track and monitor progress towards audit recommendations by uploading audit documentation, assigning follow-up actions, and documenting findings and non-conformances in one central place.


Ready to see how Lucidity can help you?

Experience the software for yourself with a personalised demo tailored to your organisation's specific health and safety needs.

Book my demo