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Definition - What does incident mean?

An incident is a workplace event that results in injury or harm to a worker or had the potential to do so. Incidents that do not result in injuries are sometimes referred to as near misses. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) defines incidents to include unintentional or unplanned events that in the past were referred to as accidents. Also included in the DOL's definition of incident are any situations in which a worker is hurt or killed, becomes ill, or experiences a close call.

SureHire explains incident

Tracking on the job incidents is an important step in ensuring a safe workplace. When an employee is injured, the incident should be reviewed to determine what actions or hazards caused the injury. Even when an event does not cause injury, it should be reviewed as an incident if an injury could have occurred. These near misses or narrow escapes must be recorded and tracked as part of a comprehensive workplace safety program. Maintaining careful review procedures can help prevent future harm to workers and proactively eliminate workplace safety hazards.

Additionally, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations require many employers to record and track incidents and calculate the rate of incidents at their work sites. This process of recording and reviewing workplace incidents is sometimes referred to as an incident or post-accident investigation. An employee involved in an incident may be required to undergo drug or alcohol testing if there is cause to believe the use of drugs or alcohol played a role in the event.

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