Accident VS Incident

Ban Accident

I’m not one of those who are jumping on the “ban the word ACCIDENT and replace it with INCIDENT bandwagon.” You see “Accident” is a perfectly good word when used as defined. Certainly the NSC believes it’s a word. The BCRSP also believes it’s a perfectly good word which can be used in the safety profession. They even support a DEFINITION of the word in their Examination Preparation Study Guide.
From the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP) Study Guide:
“The National Safety Council’s (NSC) series, Accident Prevention Manual for Business and Industry, is the preeminent choice for the primary reference text of the Applied Safety Fundamentals (ASF) Domain since this Domain was inaugurated in the BCRSP Examination Blueprint 2015.”
The NSC says this about these two important words:
“ACCIDENT – The National Safety Council defines an accident as an undesired event that results in personal injury or property damage.”

“INCIDENT – An incident is an unplanned, undesired event that adversely affects completion of a task.”
It seems apparent that when using these definitions, “Accident” is a special circumstance “Incident.” There’s no need to “ban” the use.

Even more from the BCRSP Study guide supports the use of the word Accident:
This is from the ASF 2 Incident Investigations competency:
“An incident is defined as an undesired event that may cause personal harm or other damage.
An accident is defined as an occurrence in a sequence of events that produces unintended injury, death or property damage.
The different definitions emphasize the reality that accidents are not random events but rather preventable events. All incidents should be investigated regardless of the severity of the injury or property damage.
The CRSP will:
– Demonstrate an understanding of why accidents and incidents are investigated
– Demonstrate an understanding of who should investigate and what to look for. The CRSP will be able to follow an investigation through the queries; who, what, where, why, when and how
– Demonstrate an understanding of incident cause analysis and estimation of costs
– Demonstrate an understanding of how to improve an existing incident investigation form.”

Searching just ONE BCRSP Study guide I found at least ½ dozen incidents (big smile) of the word accident.
So keep using the words “Accident” AND “Incident” they are both great words when properly used. You will certainly need to know the definition if you hope to pass the BCRSP’s examination. Isn’t that reason enough?


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