Accident and accident

The difference between an accident and an incident lies in the actual or potential damage they can cause. An accident is an event that generates material or human damage of varying severity. While an incident is an event that could generate damage or not, and that could cause an accident in the future if the faults that originated it are not corrected.

The terms accident and incident are used in the field of industrial safety, the area in charge of creating the rules to prevent or reduce the risk of damage in the work area.

DefinitionEvent that generates human or material damage.Event that generates or could generate minor human or material damage.
  • Falls
  • Development of diseases due to exposure to chemicals.
  • Damage caused by the poor condition of the company’s facilities.
  • Spillage of liquids on the ground.
  • Deterioration of work implements.
  • Electrical damage
  • Deterioration of the facilities.
Damage levelModerate or severe.Take the non-existent.
Ways of preventionApplication of industrial safety standards.
  • Incident report.
  • Application of industrial safety standards.

What is an accident?

It is an event of an unforeseen nature that generates human or material damage, and that can originate spontaneously or planned. In the latter case, it would also be classified as a crime, according to the consequences and the laws of each country.

Work accident

In the field of industrial safety, the term occupational accident is used to refer to the damages that a worker may suffer during the performance of their work. The delimitations of this definition correspond to the laws of each country and the local authorities regarding the protection of workers.

An occupational accident can be caused by another worker, by company machinery or materials, or by fortuitous circumstances. It will have this name as long as it has to do with the execution of an assigned task or occurs within the company’s facilities.

It is also considered an occupational accident to the damages that the employee may suffer on the way to and from his / her work.

When the worker suffers damage caused by his recklessness or failure to comply with industrial safety measures, it is considered a non-occupational accident.

In this case, the company is free to take the actions it deems appropriate, since it has no responsibility whatsoever with the worker.

Examples of occupational accident

Some work accidents include the development of pathologies caused by the absence or deterioration of work equipment, or by the way the work is carried out, such as:

  • lumbar ailments due to the use of inappropriate chairs.
  • Development or exacerbation of respiratory or other conditions due to the inhalation of chemical substances.
  • Falls due to slippery floors or stairs in poor condition at work facilities.

What is an incident?

An incident is an event that can be potentially harmful, but does not have serious human or material consequences.

Work incident

In the area of ​​industrial safety, workplace incidents are situations with minor consequences, but with the potential to turn into accidents, and their definition and scope depend on the industrial organizations and standards of each country.

For this reason, the application of accident prevention regulations is so important. An inadvertent or unreported incident can turn into an occupational accident with serious consequences for the worker and the company.

Examples of work incident

Among the most common workplace incidents are:

  • liquid spills on the floors of the facilities (could lead to occupational accidents such as slips or falls).
  • Deterioration of work implements (chairs in poor condition, loose lamps, chemical materials about to expire, etc.)
  • Deterioration of the facilities (damaged stairs, electrical intermittences, etc.).

See also Difference between risk and danger .

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