Glossary

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ACCIDENT

The occurrence in a sequence of events that produces unintended injury, death, or property damage. Accident refers to the event, not to the result of the event (see preventable injury). The term “accident” has largely been replaced in the public health community with the term “incident.” (see preventable deaths and injuries)

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

Includes the administrative cost of public and private insurance, as well as police and legal costs. Private insurance administrative costs are the difference between premiums paid to insurance companies and claims paid out by them. It is their cost of doing business and a part of the cost total. Claims paid by insurance companies are not identified separately, as every claim is compensation for losses such as wages, medical expenses, property damage, etc.

CHOKING

Deaths from unintentional ingestion or inhalation of food or other objects resulting in the obstruction of respiratory passages.

COSTS – COMPREHENSIVE

Represents the combination of economic costs and wage risk premiums (also referred to as lost quality of life). Because wage risk premiums do not represent real income not received or expenses incurred, it is not included in the total economic cost figure. The comprehensive cost estimate can be used in cost-benefit analysis because the comprehensive cost estimate represents the maximum amount society should spend to prevent a statistical death or injury.

COSTS – ECONOMIC

Represents the cost of fatal and nonfatal preventable injuries incurred by society and includes income not received or expenses incurred. The economic cost estimate can be compared to other economic measures such as gross domestic product, per capita income, or personal consumption expenditures.  

DEATH FROM INCIDENT

A death that occurs within one year of the incident.

DISABLING INJURY

An injury causing death, permanent disability, or any degree of temporary total disability beyond the day of the injury. Starting with the 2012 Edition of Injury Facts, the definition of disabling injury was replaced by medically consulted injury for all non-fatal injury estimates.

EMPLOYERS UNINSURED COSTS

This is an estimate of uninsured costs incurred by employers that represents the dollar value of time lost by uninjured workers. It includes time spent investigating and reporting injuries, administering first aid, hiring and training replacement workers, and the extra cost of overtime for uninjured workers.

FATAL INCIDENT

An incident that results in one or more deaths within one year of the incident.

FIRE LOSS

Includes losses from both structure fires and non-structure fires, such as vehicles, outside storage, crops and timber.

HOME

A dwelling and its premises within the property lines. Includes single family dwellings and apartment houses, duplex dwellings, boarding and rooming houses, and seasonal cottages. Excluded are barracks, dormitories and resident institutions.

INCIDENT

The preferred term for “accident” in the public health community. It refers to the occurrence in a sequence of events that produces unintended injury, death or property damage. Incident refers to the event, not the result of the event (see preventable deaths and injuries).

INJURY

Physical harm or damage to the body resulting from an exchange, usually acute, of mechanical, chemical, thermal or other environmental energy that exceeds the body’s tolerance.

MEDICAL EXPENSES

Doctor fees, hospital charges, the cost of medicines, future medical costs, and ambulance, helicopter and other emergency medical services are included.

MEDICALLY CONSULTED INJURY

An injury serious enough that a medical professional was consulted. For the motor vehicle, home and public venues, the National Safety Council uses the medically consulted injury estimates from the National Health Interview Survey. The Council uses the total recordable case estimate, using OSHA’s definition, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to estimate the number of workplace injuries. Because the BLS estimate excludes self-employed, unpaid family workers and federal government employees, the Council extrapolates the BLS estimate to reflect the total worker population.

MOTOR VEHICLE

Any mechanically or electrically powered device not operated on rails, upon which or by which any person or property may be transported upon a land highway. The load on a motor vehicle or trailer attached to it is considered part of the vehicle. Tractors and motorized machinery are included while self-propelled in transit or used for transportation. Non-motor vehicle is any road vehicle other than a motor vehicle, such as a bicycle or animal-drawn vehicle. Coaster wagon, child’s sled, child’s tricycle, child’s carriage and similar means of transportation are not included; persons using these are considered pedestrians.

MOTOR-VEHICLE DAMAGE

Includes the value of damage to vehicles from motor-vehicle crashes. The cost of normal wear and tear to vehicles is not included.

MOTOR-VEHICLE INCIDENT

An unstable situation that includes at least one harmful event (injury or property damage) involving a motor vehicle in transport (in motion, in readiness for motion or on a roadway but not parked in a designated parking area) that does not result from a discharge of a firearm or explosive device and does not directly result from a cataclysm. [see Committee on Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Classification. (1997). Manual on Classification of Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents, ANSI D16.1-1996. Itasca IL: National Safety Council.]

MOTOR-VEHICLE TRAFFIC INCIDENT

A motor-vehicle incident that occurs on a trafficway, any part of which is open to the use of the public for the purposes of vehicular traffic. A motor-vehicle non-traffic incident is any motor-vehicle incident that occurs entirely in any place other than a trafficway.

NONFATAL INJURY INCIDENT

An incident in which at least one person is injured and no injury results in death.

OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESS

Any abnormal condition or disorder caused by exposure to environmental factors associated with employment. It includes acute and chronic illnesses or diseases caused by inhalation, absorption, ingestion or direct contact.

OCCUPATIONAL INJURY

Any injury such as a cut, fracture, sprain, amputation, etc., that results from a work incident or from a single, instantaneous exposure in the work environment.

OPIOID DRUGS

Opioids encompass both prescription and illegal painkillers and include: heroin, natural and synthetic opioids (such as oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone), methadone, and other synthetic opioids (such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol).

PEDALCYCLE

A vehicle propelled by human power and operated solely by pedals; excludes mopeds.

PEDESTRIAN

Any person involved in a motor-vehicle incident who is not in or upon a motor vehicle or non-motor vehicle. Includes persons injured while using a coaster wagon, child’s tricycle, roller skates, etc. Excludes persons boarding, alighting, jumping or falling from a motor vehicle in transport who are considered occupants of the vehicle.

PERMANENT DISABILITY (OR PERMANENT IMPAIRMENT)

Any degree of permanent nonfatal injury. It includes any injury that results in the partial or complete loss of use of any part of the body or in any permanent impairment of functions of the body or a part thereof.

PREVENTABLE DEATHS AND INJURIES

Incidents that some people refer to as “accidents,” while others in the public health community use the more technical term “unintentional deaths and injuries.” Preventable deaths and injuries do not include natural causes of death, like illnesses, or intentional events, like homicides or suicides. The National Safety Council uses the term “preventable incidents” instead of “accidents” to remind us that these deaths can be eliminated.

PROPERTY DAMAGE INCIDENT

An incident that results in property damage where no person is injured.

PUBLIC INCIDENT

Any incident other than motor vehicle that occurs in the public use of any premises. Includes deaths in recreation (swimming, hunting, etc.), in transportation (except motor vehicle), in public buildings, etc., and from widespread natural disasters, even though some may have happened on home premises. Excludes incidents to people in the course of gainful employment.

PUBLIC SERVICES

This is an estimate of the emergency services primarily paid by state and local governments including: police, fire, emergency medical, victim assistance, coroner services, and incident management.

SOURCE OF INJURY

The principal object, such as a tool, machine or equipment involved in the incident and is usually the object inflicting injury or property damage. Also called agency or agent.

TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY

An injury that does not result in death or permanent disability but renders the injured person unable to perform regular duties or activities on one or more full calendar days after the day of the injury.

TOTAL CASES

Includes all work-related deaths and illnesses and those work-related injuries that result in loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job, or require medical treatment other than first aid.

UNINTENTIONAL DEATH AND INJURY

The term for accidental death and injury in the public health community. It refers to the result of an incident. The National Safety Council also uses the term “preventable injury.”

WAGE AND PRODUCTIVITY LOSSES

A person’s contribution to the wealth of the nation usually is measured in terms of wages and household production. The total wages and fringe benefits, together with an estimate of the replacement-cost value of household services, provides an estimate of this lost productivity. Also included is travel delay for motor-vehicle incidents.

WAGE RISK PREMIUM

Quantifies the tradeoff between worker wages and risk of injury. Controlling for other aspects of the job and worker characteristic, wage risk premium is the additional pay workers receive for bearing greater risk. This tradeoff rate, also known as the value of a statistical life, is the cost component that changes economic cost estimates into comprehensive cost estimates.

WORK HOURS

The total number of hours worked by all employees. They are usually compiled for various levels, such as an establishment, a company or an industry. A work hour is the equivalent of one employee working one hour.

WORK INJURIES (INCLUDING OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESSES)

Injuries that arise out of and in the course of gainful employment regardless of where the accident or exposure occurs. Excluded are work injuries to private household workers and injuries occurring in connection with farm chores that are classified as home injuries.

WORK/MOTOR-VEHICLE DUPLICATION

The cost of motor-vehicle crashes that involves people in the course of their work is included in both classes, but the duplication is eliminated from the total. The duplication in 2015 amounted to $28.7 billion and consists of $6.9 billion in wage and productivity losses, $2.5 billion in medical expenses, $15.0 billion in administrative expenses, $3.6 billion in vehicle damage and $0.7 billion in employer uninsured costs.

WORKERS

Persons gainfully employed, including owners, managers, other paid employees, the self-employed and unpaid family workers, but excluding private household workers.