A work accident, workplace accident, occupational accident, or accident at work is a “discrete occurrence in the course of work” leading to physical or mental occupational injury. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), more than 337 million accidents happen on the job each year, resulting, together with occupational diseases, in more than 2.3 million deaths annually.
The phrase “in the course of work” can include work-related accidents happening off the company’s premises, and can include accidents caused by third parties. The definition of work accident includes accidents occurring “while engaged in an economic activity, or at work, or carrying on the business of the employer” according to the ILO.
The phrase “physical or mental harm” means any injury, disease, or death. Occupational accidents differ from occupational diseases as accidents are unexpected and unplanned occurrences (e.g., mine collapse), while occupational diseases are “contracted as a result of an exposure over a period of time to risk factors arising from work activity” (e.g., miner’s lung).
Incidents that fall within the definition of occupational accidents include cases of acute poisoning, attacks by humans and animals, insects etc., slips and falls on pavements or staircases, traffic collisions, and accidents on board means of transportation in the course of work, accidents in airports, stations and so on.
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