How To Write a Safety Report

How To Write a Safety Report

iStock_000000471046XSmallOHS professionals write many reports, read many reports and ask others to prepare reports for them. A major sin is long rambling reports that do not get to the point quickly and succinctly! Prepare succinct reports yourself and make it clear that your expectation is that others do likewise. If you receive a long report ask the author for a succinct summary of the major points. Often people just want to know what has to be done and why and can do without all the padding.

Report writing

  • Need to consider your audience-Personal style, technical background, formality and their likely attitude to your communication.
  • Generally a team approach to preparing your report has advantages, put a fair bit of work into defining the scope of your report.
  • Use relevant means of gathering necessary data. Search the internet but be certain of your source, experiments, surveys, interviews, questionnaires.
  • Draft, set aside after get comments on the draft and re-draft.
  • Spell check and get at least one other person to edit the final.


  • Front-Cover, title, introduction, contents page, list of illustrations, abstract or executive summary.
  • Report body, discussion, conclusions, recommendations.
  • End, references, appendices.
  • Pictures, diagrams, sketches and flow charts can have a powerful impact and save a lot of written words.
  • Use short words and short sentences and avoid jargon, use concrete rather than abstract terms.
  • Try to present both sides of the case.
  • Be succinct, busy people do not have time to write waffle that others are too busy to read. Bear in mind however your paper work needs to be detailed enough to be defensible in court.
  • Follow up an important report with face-to-face communication or a presentation.

The above is adapted from Writing and Presenting Reports by B Eunson which is well worth a read.

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

9 Replies to “How To Write a Safety Report”

  1. My name is Stella Oby Ezieke, I’m a hse and I don’t know how to give monthly report and will need the fornaf for monthly report. Please help me

    1. I’m a fresher in industrial Safety. I don’t know how to prepare Safety documents. Kindly give any idea to prepare.

      1. I’m a hse and I don’t know how to give daily weekly and monthly report and will need the format for daily weekly and monthly report. Please help me

  2. hello. I’m still studying OHS, and we were given an assignment to write report writing on ”US DOCTORS, NURSES ON CORONA-VIRUS FRONT LINE BEG FOR CRITICAL PPE”- from AL JAZEERA. how do i write report by relating it to PPE and workplace safety.

    And its due on Wednesday, which is tomorrow. Hope you can help me out. thanks.

    1. Vanessa, it’s best to approach the issue of PPE from the nature of the person wearing it. PPE in itself doesn’t make someone safe, its is far from a magic bullet and more like a psychological security blanket in the midst of so many complex competing forces. The attitude, wise thinking and motivation of the person wearing the PPE and what they think it does is critical for tackling risk. If anything, I would use the history of PPE in the safety industry of how to NOT approach the PPE issue.
      The fact that nurses and doctors are begging for PPE shows their level of mindfulness and how they understand they are exposed to risk. Wearing of PPE is ineffective if one doesn’t understand why it should be worn and indeed, why and when it shouldn’t be worn if it increases exposure to risk.
      One of the great things in favour of doctors and nurses is their level and breadth in education, they are trained to think critically and not just to wear PPE because it is enforced. This mindfulness is critical to the effectiveness of wearing PPE and opens up these professions to innovation and creativity in the face of shortages.

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