Hello friends! Or, maybe we aren’t even friends. Maybe you’re a total stranger who started out looking at bedding on Target’s website and somehow through the internet black hole, you ended up on the Ulimi website. Well, welcome! We like you already. Today, I am going to talk about *drumroll* incident reports. Calm down! Stop getting so excited about incident reports!
Jokes aside, they are boring and tedious, but extremely important within a business. I’m sure we have all filled one out for some sort of matter. If you can recall, it probably took a while to do, you had to hand write it, and take time out of your work day to do it. When I think about incident reports, I think back to one specific time. (Don’t worry, it’s a good story.)
I was a bartender for six years. I have worked in a crappy sports bar, to one of the best craft cocktail bars in the city. With that being said, I am seasoned when it comes to safety/hygiene matters behind a bar. Did I mention I am also kind of clumsy? Not always the best combination when you are working with glass 99% of the time. One busy night, I was doing my thing—making a ton of cocktails with a dozen people waiting in line, so I’m sure I felt a bit rushed. I was trying to jiggle a wet pint glass out of another pint glass. If you know anything about glass, you know a pint glass will either chip or just totally crack and explode.
What do you think happened to me? Exploded into my finger. It happened so quickly, it was almost like it didn’t happen. I was in front of 10 patrons, standing there with a gushing hand, and trying to rush to the kitchen without having my blood spill in the nice dining establishment. (And try not to say every obscenity in the book, because I am human). Of course when I went back to the kitchen, all of them thought I was being dramatic (who, me?) until a puddle of blood spilled out of my hand. I have someone go get a manager, another person goes to hunt down my trail of blood and clean it up, and then someone to go behind the bar and tell my team that I was down for the count and to please clean up my disaster zone behind the bar.
Besides the obvious “take care of my finger and get it to stop bleeding” situation, what happens next? Well, technically, I am supposed to go to my manager or human resources and fill out an incident report. By hand. With the hand that is gushing blood out. At this point, I am positive I have to go to the hospital. I don’t really have time or ability to fill out a 4 page incident report. That’s not my biggest concern, ya know? But, it will be once it’s all said and done and even the nicest managers or HR persons would tell you that.
My manager explains to me that I should probably fill out the report, but she understood and that I could just come the next day to hand write it. I get that it’s not her choice, but that’s the way the company does it and that’s how it has to be recorded. I thought to myself sitting in the ER: there has got to be a more efficient way to do this. It makes no sense for me to stay at my job, bleeding, and do a multi-page report. I had a 6 stitcher for pete’s sake!
I was gonna do what I do best and that is revel in the attention I was getting in the ER and focus on sewing my digit back up. Why couldn’t I just fill something out online via phone or laptop when I got home? All of the information is fresh in my head. I could have had someone help me fill things out on my phone, or have the medical professionals tell me exactly what happened.
Here’s the part where I connect it to the work we are doing here. You didn’t think I was just gonna tell you a random story of me and slashing my finger, did you? Silly goose. What we are focusing on right now is how we could have made that whole process for me 10x easier. We give employees the ability to fill everything out online. It can go back and be edited. It is accessible at all times to you and your boss. I could have filled out a decent amount of the information from my phone while I was waiting in the ER. I wouldn’t have had to go back to work the next day and try to remember every detail. I wouldn’t have to hunt down the other employees who witnessed it and have them fill out all of the papers. I could have had them just go online and take care of it.
This goes back to the main idea at Ulimi that we harp on all the time: why do we make things so hard for ourselves? If we have an easier solution that gets things done quicker, better, and more accurate, why not do it? I’m sure that a lot of work places would agree this would be the easier option. Now, the next step is take the leap into the inevitable future of going completely paperless and taking a chance with software that’s there to help you and your boss out. There have been companies who have taken a chance, some that have let us help them, and they say that the results are a total game changer. Matters that would have taken a week to get done, are all completely accessible to you and work space and done in a fraction of the time.
Well, that’s my experience and hot take with incident reports. What experiences have you had that could have gone much smoother? What are the missing pieces to your workplace that could be easily fixed with making a few simple changes like the ones I have mentioned? I would love to hear your “pint glass exploding in your hand” stories! Or maybe it’s a different kind of incident like a behavioral issue with *that* coworker. Incident reports can be a plethora of issues. Real stories from real people like you help us do our job better..and we also just love story time. Hit me up in the comments!