From a Spark to a Wildfire: The Cost of Underreporting Risk Incidents

From a Spark to a Wildfire: The Cost of Underreporting Risk Incidents

By Brad Smith |

We all know that reporting safety incidents in the workplace is essential to managing risk, but with the advent of COVID-19 the relationship between risk and incident has taken on a whole new meaning.

The likelihood of a small spark leading to a wild-fire has never felt more real.

And while we’re all still getting our heads around incident reporting for a silent, unseen, often asymptomatic virus, there are lessons we can learn from our “eliminate early” risk mitigation approach to COVID-19 for all risk incidents in the workplace.

Global pandemic aside, we know that underreporting small incidents or “near misses” increases risk and often leads to larger incidents, which can potentially be far more damaging long-term.

Anecdotally, we also know that many of our clients who have had reasonably good incident reporting systems before coming to us have seen significant increases in reported incidents since implementing our Camms.Risk incident reporting system.

This isn’t an indication of instant and unprecedented risk in their workplaces (or irresponsibility among staff), it shows that no matter how organised or embedded your health and safety systems are, many incidents – particularly those small but essential spot-fires that management need to know about – often go unreported.

It’s clear that without the right tools in place to make it easy for staff to capture even the smallest incidents, many organizations are missing the little warning signs that, when undocumented or unaddressed, could eventually lead to more serious incidents with far greater consequences for your organization.

In the United States, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that work place injuries in 2018 cost US$170.8 billion, and 103 million days in lost productivity.

To prevent these sparks and spot fires turning to wild-fires, to save lives, livelihoods, and billions of dollars in the process, it’s essential for organizations to ensure all incidents are reported, not just the big ones. This means making incident reporting and risk management more accessible, accountable, trackable and resolvable.

Camms.Risk is an all-encompassing software solution that provides an integrated approach to governance, risk and compliance. Camms.Risk software includes an easy to use and implement incident reporting system that can report incidents and near misses as they happen, conduct investigations, determine the impact of incidents and monitor cases until they’ve been resolved.


Brad Smith
Principal Consultant


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Turner & Townsend is a multinational professional services company headquartered in the United Kingdom, with 111 offices in 45 countries. They specialize in program, project and cost management and consulting across the property, infrastructure and natural resources sectors.

They offer tried and tested systems and processes for the analysis, planning and monitoring of projects, to deliver faster, cheaper, safer and more efficient working practices and better results overall. Thus, helping clients strengthen their business or investment case, grow stakeholder engagement, or make difficult choices at any stage of a project’s lifecycle.