How to Write Incident Reports: Purpose, Structure & Content

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Incident reports may serve as vitally important business documentation in many industries. In this lesson, you'll learn the purpose, structure and content of a typical incident report. A short quiz follows.

Incident Report Definition

Mike works as a manager for a grocery store. During his shift, a customer slipped and fell on a floor that was wet from a recent mopping. Mike investigates the facts surrounding the accident and prepares an incident report, which is a document that describes an event and may include an investigation and analysis of the event.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Ethical Issues in Informal Report Writing

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Incident Report Definition
  • 0:18 Purpose & Content
  • 0:50 Structure
  • 3:08 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Purpose & Content

The name of the incident report really gives away the purpose of the report. An incident report is used to document an incident that has occurred. Perhaps the most well-known type of incident report is a police report of a car accident. Some incident reports may simply document what happened. For example, a manager may document an unexcused absence in an employee's personnel file. However, some incident reports, like Mike's, also document an investigation of the incident, an evaluation of the incident and recommendations concerning it.


Mike's incident report consists of an introduction, a discussion, a recommendation and a conclusion. Let's take a closer look at each section of the report.

Mike's introduction serves several purposes. First, the introduction will tell the reader the purpose of the report. In Mike's case, the purpose is to document the accident, his investigation of it and his conclusion and recommendation. Second, the introduction will tell the reader who was involved. Mike will identify the names of all the witnesses, the customer who was injured and the employee that mopped the wet floor. Mike will also recite his role, which is to document and investigate the incident as he was not personally involved in the incident. It should be noted, however, that sometimes the author of the incident report might be personally involved in the incident.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account