A work accident, workplace accident, occupational accident, or accident at work is a "discrete occurrence in the course of work, which leads to physical or mental harm". 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.
The phrase 'in the course of work' means during the course of work or at work (even if the accident happens off the company’s premises, or if it is caused by third parties) according to Eurostat; and 'while engaged in an economic activity, or at work, or carrying on the business of the employer' according to ILO.
The phrase physical or mental harm means any injury, disease or death. Occupational accidents differ from occupational diseases in that they are unexpected and unplanned occurrences, while an occupational disease is 'contracted as a result of an exposure over a period of time to risk factors arising from work activity'.
Incidents that fall within the definition of occupational accidents also include cases of acute poisoning, attacks by humans and animals, insects etc., slips on pavements or staircases, road traffic accidents and accidents on board means of transportation in the course of work, accidents in airports, stations and so on.
There is no consensus as to whether commuting accidents (i.e. accidents on the way to work and while returning home after work) should be considered to be work accidents. The ESAW methodology excludes them, ILO includes them in its conventions concerning Health & Safety at work, albeit as a separate category of accidents, while some countries (e.g. Greece) do not distinguish them from other work accidents.
A fatal accident at work is defined as an accident which leads to the death of a victim. The time within which the death may occur varies among countries: In Netherlands an accident is registered as fatal if the victim dies during the same day that the accident happened, in Germany if death came within 30 days, while Belgium, France and Greece set no time limit.
See also 
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- European Commission, European Statistics on Accidents at Work (ESAW), Mehtodology, 2001
- ILO Safety and Health at Work
- The Sixteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians, Resolution concerning statistics of occupational injuries (resulting from occupational accidents),adopted by the Sixteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians, (October 1998)
- Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981
- ELINYAE Congress papers
- EU-OSHA FAQ
- "Work accident related blog". accident-work-place.blogspot.com.