Incident: Definition and types


An incident is an instance of something happening; an event or occurrence. Every occurrence is an incident (positive or negative); something has just happen.

It can be grouped into three (3) types:

  • Accident:

This is an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally and unplanned, typically resulting in damage or injury. Accident can also be said to be an unexpected event, typically sudden in nature and associated with injury, loss, or harm.

  • Near Miss:

A near miss as an incident in which no property was damaged and no personal injury was sustained, but where, given a slight shift in time or position, damage or injury easily could have occurred.

  • Dangerous occurrence:

Dangerous Occurrence, often called a ‘near miss’, is an incident where no person is injured, but which had the potential to cause serious injury, incapacity or death. Examples of Dangerous Occurrences include incidents such as falling objects that do not hit anyone, discovering hazards after work has commenced—such as live power cables or asbestos—that should have been discovered earlier, as well as fires or electrical malfunctions which could have resulted in injury.

It can also be said to be incidents with a high potential to cause death or serious injury, but which happen relatively infrequently.

NOTE: In dangerous occurrence, there is mostly no exposure.


Incident is the mother of all.


Further reading

See how LTIFR is calculated from LTI (Lost time injury)

What KPI stands for in Health and Safety (HSE)

OSHA recordable incident rate and how to calculate

TRIR Calculation – How to calculate total recordable incident rate



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