An accident is an unplanned event that sometimes has inconvenient, undesirable or even disastrous consequences, other times being inconsequential. The occurrence of such an event may or may not have unrecognized or unaddressed risks contributing to its cause. Most scientists who study unintentional injury avoid using the term "accident" and focus on factors that increase risk of severe injury and that reduce injury incidence and severity.
Physical examples of accidents include unintended motor vehicle collisions or falls, being injured by touching something sharp, hot, dropping a plate, accidentally kicking the leg of a chair while walking, unintentionally biting one's tongue while eating, accidentally tipping over a glass of water, contacting electricity or ingesting poison. Non-physical examples are unintentionally revealing a secret or otherwise saying something incorrectly, accidental deletion of data, forgetting an appointment etc.
Accidents during the execution of work or arising out of it are called work accidents. According to the International Labour 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.
Incidence of accidents (of a severity of resulting in seeking medical care), sorted by activity (in Denmark in 2002).
Poisons, vehicle collisions and falls are the most common causes of fatal injuries. According to a 2005 survey of injuries sustained at home, which used data from the National Vital Statistics System of the United States National Center for Health Statistics, falls, poisoning, and fire/burn injuries are the most common causes of death.
^Yvonne Toft; Geoff Dell; Karen K Klockner; Allison Hutton (April 2012). "Models of Causation: Safety". In HaSPA (Health and Safety Professionals Alliance) (ed.). OHS Body of Knowledge(PDF). Safety Institute of Australia Ltd. ISBN978-0-9808743-1-0.
^Reason, James T. (1991). "Too Little and Too Late: A Commentary on Accident and Incident Reporting". In Van Der Schaaf, T.W.; Lucas, D.A.; Hale, A.R. (eds.). Near Miss Reporting as a Safety Tool. Butterworth-Heinemann. pp. 9–26.