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accident vs. incident

"7:13 PM 09/08/05 Incident

Freewy 123 Northbound after YY RD

Accident: SOLO CAR CRASH, BLOCKING THE LEFT LANE "

1. What's the difference between a (traffic) incident and accident?

2. Can you call a car accident an incident?

3. Can you call an incident an accident?

4. Is it true that an accident is an incident but not vice versa?

Thanks,
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Well, Clive, we may have to suddenly get philosophical on this, because there are some folks, in more places than Canada, who will say that there is no such thing as an accident (in the sense of an effect without a cause). The least we can agree on is that there are other causes for effects than intent.
Hi Clive&Dave,

This is getting very interesting, but I'm lost somewhere.

Clive wrote:

"The word 'accident' is seen as 'accepting the incident' as something that could not have been prevented."

1. Please elaborate further or give some examples.

Dave wrote:

"...because there are some folks, in more places than Canada, who will say that there is no such thing as an accident (in the sense of an effect without a cause). The least we can agree on is that there are other causes for effects than intent. "

2. Please elaborate further or give some examples.

Thanks,
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Well, it's pretty simple for me.

Traffic accidents, to use Clive's example, have a cause, and for that reason should, perhaps, not be called accidents. They are accidental in the sense that noone involved had an intent, but they are not accidental in the sense that there was no cause for what happened (a driver ran a stoplight while looking the other way).

It was not accidental that the city of New Orleans was flooded, but was caused by the difference between the force of Katrina and the resistance forces of the levees.

The shape of a cloud is not accidental, but the result of laws we can barely understand.

Someone wets the bed accidentally in the sense that there was no intent to wet the bed, but not in the sense that wetting the bed had no cause, apparent or otherwise.

So I want to define the accidental primarily as an event that falls outside of intent.
CalifJim3. I wouldn't call an incident an accident unless it were an accident!

CJ

There is no doubt that CJ is correct. I'm just trying to know the reason. I know were is used instead of was when we have a situation contrary to fact/reality. Couldn't it be said: I wouldn't call an incident an accident unless it was an accident!?

Yes, in that case, he's saying that the incident was actually an accident, so "was" is okay.
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Gents,

To know the difference between the accident and the incident we need to the definition of each one as per OSHHAS 1881:1999:

Accident

Undesired event giving rise to death, ill health, injury, damage or other loss

Incident

Event that gave rise to an accident or had the potential to lead to an accident.

NOTE An incident where no ill health, injury, damage, or other loss occurs is also referred to as a “near-miss”. The term “incident” includes “near-misses”.

Hop that will answer the question.

AnonymousTo know the difference between the accident and the incident we need to the definition of each one as per OSHHAS 1881:1999:

Hi Anon,

Thanks a lot for the definition. What does OSHHAS 1881:1999 mean?

I agree with Anonymous.

The difference between accident and incident is that in an accident, the outcome is characterised by physical and observable consequences (i.e. damages to infrastructure, loss of life, injuries). However, an incident is an occurrence that had the potential to become an accident but something prevented the worst case to happen. Somehow safety was jeopardised.

Accident and incident both share the same causal pathway, meaning that similar causes underlie accidents and incidents in many cases. You can read a bit more the theory of the Heinrich pyramid, also called safety triangle.
If you talk to people working in health and safety and safety management systems (e.g. health, aviation, nuclear, chemical, oil industry...), you'll get a similar answer.
It's only in road safety that I heard that there is so much confusion with the words accident and incident. If a car is damaged or someone suffers some injuries, it is clear it is an accident. If you had to stop abruptly your car to avoid another car but nothing happened at the end, I would called this an incident.
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