The term incident can be defined as an occurrence, condition, or situation arising in the course of work that resulted in or could have resulted in injuries, illnesses, damage to health, or fatalities (CCOHS 2021). The term "accident" is also commonly used, and can be defined as an unplanned event that interrupts the completion of an activity, and that may (or may not) include injury or property damage.

Reasons to investigate a workplace incident/accident include:

  • to determine the immediate and root cause of incidents/accidents and to prevent it from happening again
  • to achieve legislation compliance
  • to determine cost of incident/accident
  • to determine compliance with applicable regulations and legislation
  • to process workers' compensation claims
  • to improve health & safety knowledge