Skip to content

Competencies covered

MSMSUP102: Communicate in the workplace

MSMSUP106: Work in a team

Forms and reports

Image for slide 1
Audio for slide 1 (mp3 |6|KB)
In the workplace, forms and reports are used to document information so it can be referred to at a later time.

Forms are based on a 'template' format, which provides a fixed structure with standardised subheadings and questions.

Reports, on the other hand, are much more free-flowing. They allow you to express your opinions on matters instead of simply providing specific answers to set questions.

Let's look at some typical types of forms and reports.

hearing icon
Image for slide 2
Audio for slide 2 (mp3 |6|KB)


Injury form

If you suffer a workplace injury, you'll probably be asked to record the details in an injury or incident form.

Generally the company's Safety Officer will help you, or even fill in the details for you.

hearing icon
Image for slide 3
Audio for slide 3 (mp3 |6|KB)

Telephone message

Telephone messages are often recorded on a template-type pad bought from the local newsagent.

The advantage of using a template is that it gives you prompts so you can make sure you've written down the necessary details while the caller is still on the phone.

hearing icon
Image for slide 4
Audio for slide 4 (mp3 |6|KB)

Toolbox minutes

One of the meetings you're likely to be involved in at work is a toolbox meeting.

Because they play an important role in the company's occupational health and safety system, the points raised at toolbox meetings need to be formally documented.

hearing icon
Image for slide 5
Audio for slide 5 (mp3 |6|KB)


Sometimes reports are written into a document with a template layout.

These might include a customer complaint, accident report or quality inspection.

Other reports have no pre-formatted structure at all, particularly when they represent the writer's views on a subject.

The big difference between a report and a form is the amount of control you have over how you express yourself.

hearing icon
Image for slide 6
Audio for slide 6 (mp3 |6|KB)
But with this increased level of freedom comes an equal increase in the care you have to take with the words you use.

Unlike talking, when you communicate your ideas in writing there is no way of checking on the spot that the message is being received the way you'd intended it.

So by the time you do get feedback on your report, the reader will have already formed an opinion on it, and may have also put plans into action on the basis of what they thought you were saying.

hearing icon
Image for slide 7
Audio for slide 7 (mp3 |6|KB)
The best way to avoid misunderstandings when you're writing a report is to think about the topic from the reader's perspective.

Remember that they're unlikely to have the same amount of background information on the matter as you do, so you have to include any details that are important to their understanding of the issue.

Click on the link below for some hints on how to write a clear and concise report.

hearing icon

Learning activity

Audio 8 (mp3 |6|KB)

Incident reports are used to record the details of an event that caused an injury, damaged property, or was a 'near miss' (that is, nearly resulted in an injury or property damage).

They are also used to document the cause of the incident and to suggest corrective action to stop the same sort of situation happening again.

The link below will take you to a simple example of an incident report template.

Incident report template

Think of an incident that you are aware of, or alternatively, make up an incident that might occur at your workplace if something went wrong.

Fill in the incident report template as if you were the safety officer investigating the matter.

Your trainer might ask you to print out the report and hand it to them when you've finished.

Alternatively, you may be asked to email it to your trainer.

hearing icon

  Go to  Emails