The Incident Management Life Cycle, Explained

Workplace incidents aren’t something a business can ignore. To maintain compliance and foster productivity, organizations must work hard to mitigate accidents at their root causes immediately following an incident or close call. According to Occupational Health & Safety Online, the top incidents by root cause in the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) landscape include:

  • Inadequate tools
  • Unsafe actions
  • Failed equipment
  • Unavailable tools
  • Improper training

While it may be impossible to eliminate all workplace incidents instantly, it is possible to work through each issue impacting the space. In order to adequately and thoroughly accomplish this task, businesses will likely need to go through incident management, a critical step-by-step process on the forefront of EHS measures. When the incident management life cycle is monitored and analyzed alongside a strong EHS platform, the dream of an incident-free workplace can become a reality.

Incident management, defined

Before we dig into the specifics, it may be useful to provide a comprehensive definition of the term. Incident management is the process an organization undergoes to identify, analyze, mitigate and correct workplace hazards. While a portion of this process serves a reactive purpose, incident management is considered to be a proactive solution, as it works to prevent future occurrences of the same or similar instances.

What is incident management in safety?

Incident management is a process in which companies record and identify possible incident risk to analyze prevention and mitigation tactics in order to eliminate and reduce exposure to health and safety risks in the workplace. 

The stages of incident management

As is evident in many components of the EHS process, incident management can be broken down into multiple steps. This systematic approach is considered a life cycle, as it is apparent from the moment the incident appears to the instance it becomes resolved.


This state refers to the instance in which an incident is logged but not yet assigned. A professional should make a note of it immediately after they witness an injury or close call. When they wait too long, the incident may go unresolved and can create more issues.

In progress

After the accident has been assigned for review by a team or manager, it is considered “in progress.” During this step, individuals are beginning to investigate the root of the issue as well as any possible repercussions.

On hold

This stage does not occur every time a business undergoes the incident life cycle process. The individual or team assigned during the “in progress” step may need to reallocate the responsibility to another entity. Perhaps whoever was originally assigned to the task needs to gain additional information on how to handle an issue, or maybe they need evidence on ways this incident has impacted the business in the past.

When the requested person or team has responded to this request, they may reset the incident to denote that it is “in progress.” However, multiple parties may put the same activity on hold several times throughout the incident management life cycle if further instruction is required at any point.


During this step, the incident is not completely fixed, but it is mitigated for a period of time in order to ensure there are no additional incidents caused by the same problem. There may be an instance in which an incident moves from “resolved” to “in progress” if it has been cast aside for too long and the threat of a similar incident occurring is a looming threat in the work space.


Once the team members working on a designated incident have eliminated the issue altogether, preventing further injuries or accidents from occurring in the long term, the incident is considered “closed.” Once it reaches this stage of the life cycle, it will no longer pose an issue to the organization. In addition, strategic businesses may use this stage of the life cycle to compile information they may need to proactively prevent similar accidents from occurring.

incident management life cycle

When the incident management life cycle is monitored and analyzed alongside a strong EHS platform, the dream of an incident-free
workplace can become a reality.

When businesses neglect incident management

Without an effective incident management system, workplace accidents can escalate into major disruptions. Its effects may spill into other areas of the business, causing issues in business operations, IT systems, employee engagement and even customer satisfaction.

Take incident management into your own hands

In the EHS landscape, it is crucial to be thorough and systematic during each step of the incident life cycle. As noted above, an organization can allow dangers to fall through the cracks of their business operations when they do not effectively mitigate an issue. The right EHS platform allows business leaders to follow along with every step of the incident management process to ensure teams and managers respond promptly to accidents and close calls. As a result, this software can improve productivity, reduce overhead costs and even improve employee morale.

At ProcessMAP, we work with businesses of all sizes to improve their workplace safety practices. Our Incident management software can increase transparency in all ends of the organization, allowing all parties involved to monitor the incident management life cycle. Get in touch with us today to find out how implementing an EHS solution can help your business adopt an interactive, strategic incident management process.

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