According to the Health and Safety Advisor, an incident's an event where no actual harm or loss is experienced. An accident, on the other hand, is an event where there's injury to another person and loss to the company.
Although you can have many incidents in your workplace without any injury or damage, eventually these incidents will lead to costly accidents.
How can an incident lead to an accident?
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Two ways an incident can lead to an accident
#1: If you haven't done a proper risk assessment, you won't be able to ensure your employees behave safely.
Part of ensuring safe behaviour is to train your employees on the safety rules you've put in place to prevent accidents as part of your control of loss in your risk assessment.
If you haven't done the risk assessment, implemented your safety rules and trained your employees, expect incidents to lead to accidents.
#2: The 'contact' stage is where the incident becomes an accident.
For instance, your employees come in contact with a source of energy (electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic or kinetic energy) or a substance (inhaling mist, gas, vapour, ingesting or skin contact). Or where the forklift comes in contact with another worker and causes harm and loss.
At this stage, you've already experienced harm and loss to your employee. Your incident has now become an accident.
As you can see, it's crucial you do an incident investigation and risk assessment on all incidents become accidents. You must find the causes to prevent them from happening again.
Turn to chapter I07 of your Health and Safety Advisor to get 15 easy steps on how you can prevent accidents in your workplace