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Last updated: January 4, 2019

What Does Incident Mean?

An incident, in the context of occupational health and safety, is an unintended event that disturbs normal operations.

OSHA defines an incident as "an unplanned, undesired event that adversely affects completion of a task."

Incidents range in severity from near misses to fatal accidents.

Safeopedia Explains Incident

Safety and health incidents are not always serious in their effects, as is the case with near misses (events that could have resulted in a serious accident but all serious damage or harm was avoided). However, companies typically respond to even minor incidents, either by recording them to analyze and track safety metrics or by taking proactive steps such as holding a quick safety meeting to discuss the event or conducting a review of the events that led to the incident.

While it is often used interchangeably with "accident," it is a different concept. Accidents are a subset of incidents, but some events that don't qualify as accidents are counted as incidents.


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