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You are here: Home FAQ Sections: Construction: Hazards and risks What is an accident at work?

What is an accident at work?

What is an accident at work?

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Eurostat define an accident as "a discrete occurrence in the course of work which leads to physical or mental harm".

  • This includes accidents in the course of work outside the premises of one's business, even if caused by a third party (on clients' premises, on another company's premises, in a public place or during transport, including road traffic accidents) and cases of acute poisoning.
  • It excludes accidents on the way to or from work (commuting accidents), occurrences having only a medical origin (such as a heart attack at work) and occupational diseases.

A fatal accident at work is defined as an accident which leads to the death of a victim within one year of the accident. In practice the notification of an accident as fatal ranges from national registration procedures where the accident is registered as fatal when the victim dies during the same day (Netherlands) or within 30 days after the accident (Germany) to cases where no time limits are laid down (Belgium, Greece, France).

However, this definition of an accident at work is not based on European legislation, it is only used for collecting statistics. Member States may have their own definition of an accident.