There is a big difference between accidents, incidents, and near misses. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they have very different meanings.
Accidents result in injury or damage. They are usually caused by carelessness, negligence or a lack of knowledge. Accidents should be reported and steps taken to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
Examples of accidents include:
- A car crash due to a driver not paying attention
- A fall from a ladder due to a lack of safety equipment
- A workplace incident due to improper use of equipment
Incidents have the potential to cause injury or damage. They can be caused by unsafe conditions or careless behavior. Incidents should be addressed to prevent them from becoming more serious.
Examples of incidents include:
- Slipping on a wet floor
- Dropping an object from a height
- A car skidding on a wet road
- A worker entering a hazardous area without proper safety gear
Near misses nearly cause an accident and are often overlooked because no harm was done. Near misses should be reported to identify risks.
Examples of near misses include:
- Tripping over a box and catching yourself before you fall
- A car nearly hits another vehicle but brakes in time
- A worker almost enters a hazardous area without the proper safety gear