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Do you know what the difference between an incident and an accident is?

by , 11 July 2014
In daily life, when you talk about workplace accidents many of us use the words 'incident' and 'accident' interchangeably.

Let's say one of your employees fell down the stairs. She didn't sustain any injuries other than a bruise or two. Would you call this an accident? I know I would.

But in the eyes of COID and the DoL incidents and accidents are two different things...

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Do you know when to claim from COID? Shocking survey reveals 5 out of 7 managers don't! 
 
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Here is the definition of an 'incident' in the eyes of COID and the DoL

 
An incident is any event that doesn't actually cause an injury or illness. You can have lots of workplace incidents but never have a workplace accident.
 
So let's look at the previous example again. That's an incident because your employee doesn't have any injuries. There also wasn't any damage to property when your employee fell.
 
Now let's look at what an accident at work is...
 

This is the definition of an 'accident' in the eyes of COID and the DoL

 
An accident is any event where your employee or other people suffer a workplace injury or illness because of it. It's also an accident if it results in damage to property.
 
So let's take our previous example and say your employee was carrying her laptop when she fell. The laptop broke and she sprained her ankle. Now it's an accident.
 
So when it comes to reporting to COID, remember you mustn't report incidents to them. The Compensation Fund only pays out for accidents that result in injuries or illnesses that stop your employee from working for three days or more.
 
There you have it, now you know what COID and the DoL refer to when they talk about accidents and incidents. 
 
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Do you have contractors working at your offices? – Do you know what your health and safety obligations are?
 
If you have contractors working on your premises, you're liable for their health and safety.
 
What if the contractors injure one of your employees? Or one of the contractors employees falls off a ladder and has to be taken to hospital? 
 
 
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