Important Terms and Definitions
Related to Occupational Health and Safety
AAccidentAn unexpected, unplanned event that results in injury, damage, or loss.Asbestos exposureInhalation or contact with asbestos fibers, a known carcinogen, which can lead to respiratory diseases and cancers.Atmospheric monitoringThe continuous assessment of the air within a workplace to identify and measure the concentration of specific gases or vapors.Aerial lift safetyPrecautions and guidelines for the safe operation of aerial lifts, such as cherry pickers and scissor lifts.
BBiological hazardsHazards that arise from exposure to organisms or their byproducts, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or toxins.Behavior-based safetyAn approach that focuses on analyzing and modifying individual behaviors to improve overall safety in the workplace.Back injury preventionSafety measures and ergonomic practices aimed at preventing musculoskeletal injuries to the back during lifting or other activities.Biosafety level (BSL)A set of biocontainment precautions to protect individuals and the environment when working with potentially hazardous microorganisms.Back to Work ProceduresOutline the steps and protocols for employees returning to their duties after a period of absence, ensuring a smooth and safe transition.
CConfined spaceA space with limited entry and exit, not designed for continuous occupancy, and may pose hazards like lack of ventilation or exposure to harmful substances.Chemical exposureContact with or inhalation of hazardous chemicals, which may cause acute or chronic health effects.CarcinogensSubstances or agents that can cause cancer, either by direct contact or exposure over an extended period.Control of hazardous energy (Lockout/Tagout)Procedures to control energy sources during maintenance or servicing of machines and equipment, preventing accidental start-ups.Certificate of Fitness (COF)A document certifying individual's physical capability or health status is fit to perform specific tasks.Case ManagementThe systematic coordination of care and resources to facilitate the recovery and rehabilitation of individuals who have sustained occupational injuries.Corporate social responsibilityCompany's commitment to promoting environmental, health, and safety initiatives while also considering societal impacts and sustainability practices.
DDust hazardsParticles in the air, typically generated by activities like grinding, cutting, or handling materials, which can pose respiratory and other health risks.Dangerous goodsSubstances or articles that pose a risk to people, property, or the environment during transportation.Dermal exposureContact with hazardous substances through the skin, which can result in absorption and adverse health effects.Dust explosionA rapid combustion of fine particles suspended in the air, creating a potentially hazardous explosion.
EEmergency evacuation planA detailed plan outlining procedures to be followed during emergencies to ensure the safe evacuation of all personnel.Ergonomic designThe creation and arrangement of tools, equipment, and workspaces to fit the capabilities and limitations of workers, enhancing safety and efficiency.Electrical safetyPrecautions and practices to prevent electrical hazards and ensure the safe use of electrical equipment.Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS)The discipline of ensuring the health and safety of workers and the environment.Electronic Health Record (EHR)A digital version of a patient's medical history, including diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans.EHS TrainingEducating employees about environmental, health, and safety practices to promote a safe and compliant workplace.Employee self-schedulingallows workers to autonomously book and manage their health appointments based on their availability and preferences.
FFall protectionMeasures and equipment designed to prevent or minimize the risk of falls from heights.Fire safetyMeasures and protocols in place to prevent, prepare for, and respond to fires in the workplace.Facility inspectionA systematic examination of a workplace to identify and address potential hazards and ensure compliance with safety regulations.Fire extinguisher typesDifferent categories of fire extinguishers designed to combat specific types of fires, such as Class A, B, C, or D.
GGas detectionThe use of specialized equipment to monitor and detect the presence of hazardous gases in the work environment.Gas cylinder safetyPrecautions and guidelines for the safe handling, storage, and use of compressed gas cylinders.
HHazard communicationThe process of conveying information about chemical hazards to workers, including labels on containers and safety data sheets (SDS).Hot workAny work involving open flames, sparks, or high temperatures, requiring specific safety measures to prevent fires and explosions.Hierarchy of controlsA system used to minimize or eliminate exposure to occupational hazards, prioritizing methods from most effective to least effective.Hazardous waste disposalThe proper and safe disposal of waste materials that pose a threat to human health or the environment.Hazardous atmosphereAn environment containing substances at concentrations that may pose a threat to health or safety.Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE)The discipline of ensuring the health and safety of workers and the environment.
IIncident investigationThe process of examining the circumstances surrounding an incident to identify causes and prevent future occurrences.Indoor air qualityThe condition of the air within buildings, affecting the health and comfort of occupants.Incident rateA metric used to measure the frequency of workplace incidents, often expressed as the number of incidents per 100 or 1,000 workers.Incident reportingThe process of documenting and communicating details about workplace incidents to ensure appropriate investigation and preventive measures.Incident Root Cause AnalysisThe process of identifying underlying factors contributing to workforce incidents or issues to implement effective preventive measures.
JJob hazard analysis (JHA)A systematic process for identifying and evaluating potential hazards associated with a specific job or task.Job safety analysis (JSA)A process that breaks down a job into its essential steps and identifies potential hazards to ensure safe work procedures.Journey managementA process to plan and manage employee travel, with a focus on safety and efficiency.Jockey boxA safety device used to secure wheels and prevent unintended movement of vehicles during maintenance or repair.Job rotationA strategy where employees are periodically moved between different tasks or workstations to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
KKinetic liftingSafe lifting techniques that focus on body mechanics and proper use of equipment to prevent musculoskeletal injuries.Knee protectionPPE designed to protect the knees from injuries, commonly used in construction and manual labor.Kinetic energy recovery system (KERS)A technology that recovers and stores energy during braking, commonly used in vehicles and industrial machinery.
LLockout/tagout (LOTO)Procedures used to ensure that machinery or equipment is properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or repair work.Ladder safetyGuidelines and precautions to ensure safe and proper use of ladders to prevent falls and injuries.Lifting equipmentMachinery or devices used to lift and move heavy loads, such as cranes, hoists, and forklifts.Laser markingA method of labeling or engraving materials using laser technology, often employed in manufacturing and product identification.
MMachine guardingProtective measures, such as barriers and shields, to prevent workers from coming into contact with moving machinery parts.Material safety data sheet (MSDS)A document that provides information on the properties and hazards of chemical products.Manual handlingThe process of moving or supporting loads by hand or bodily force, with an emphasis on preventing musculoskeletal injuries.Material handling equipmentMachinery and tools used for the movement, storage, and control of materials, such as forklifts, conveyors, and pallet jacks.
NNoise exposureProlonged exposure to high levels of noise, which can lead to hearing loss and other health issues.Non-ionizing radiationRadiation with insufficient energy to ionize atoms, including microwaves, radio waves, and ultraviolet light.Near missAn unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage but had the potential to do so.Non-combustible materialsMaterials that do not easily catch fire and are not prone to combustion under normal conditions.Noise reduction rating (NRR)A measure of the effectiveness of hearing protection devices in reducing noise exposure.
OOccupational healthThe branch of public health concerned with preventing and managing occupational-related injuries, illnesses, and disabilities.Occupational hygieneThe discipline of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating, and controlling workplace conditions that may cause illness or impairment.Occupational exposure limit (OEL)The maximum allowable concentration of a hazardous substance in the workplace air over a specified period.Occupational diseaseA health condition or illness that results from exposure to workplace hazards over an extended period.Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)The discipline of ensuring the health and safety of workers.Offshore Energies UK (OEUK)Offshore Energies UK, formerly known as Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), is a trade association for the United Kingdom offshore energies industryOccupational health management (OHM)Implementation of strategies to safeguard and promote the well-being of employees in the workplaceOccupational Health Management Platform (OHMP)A digital tool for streamlining and managing employee health data, appointments, and compliance records within the workplace.Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)Ensures safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.
PPersonal protective equipment (PPE)Clothing and equipment worn by workers to protect against workplace hazards, such as helmets, gloves, goggles, and respirators.Permit to workA formal document that authorizes specific work to be carried out under controlled conditions, often for high-risk activities.Personal air samplingThe collection and analysis of air samples to determine the concentration of specific substances to which a worker may be exposed.Permissible exposure limit (PEL)The maximum allowable concentration of a substance in the air, established by regulatory agencies.
QQuality of work life (QWL)A comprehensive approach to job satisfaction and overall well-being of workers, including factors like work environment, job security, and work-life balance.Quarantine areaA designated space for isolating and observing individuals or materials potentially exposed to infectious agents.Quality controlProcedures and processes implemented to ensure that products or services meet specified quality standards.
RRisk assessmentThe process of evaluating potential hazards and determining the likelihood and severity of adverse events.Respiratory protectionThe use of respirators to protect workers from inhaling hazardous substances or airborne contaminants.Rapid response teamA team trained and equipped to respond quickly to emergency situations, providing immediate assistance and support.
SSafety cultureThe shared values, beliefs, and attitudes within an organization regarding safety practices and behaviors.Safe lifting limitThe maximum weight a person can safely lift, considering factors like body mechanics and ergonomics.Safety harnessA piece of personal protective equipment designed to prevent falls and protect workers when working at heights.Safety, Health, Environment, and Quality (SHEQ)A management system that integrates safety, health, environment, and quality.Safety OfficerResponsible for ensuring compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations in the workplace, safeguarding the well-being of employees.
TTraining and awarenessPrograms designed to educate workers on safety procedures, hazards, and emergency response.Trench safetyPrecautions and measures to prevent cave-ins and other hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.Tool safetyPractices and precautions to ensure the safe use of hand and power tools in the workplace.Traffic managementStrategies and measures to control and ensure the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians in and around workplaces.TealioYour comprehensive occupational health solution for workplaces and educational institutions.
UUniversal precautionsSafety measures taken to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases in the workplace, often involving the use of protective barriers and safe work practices.Underground utilitiesInfrastructure elements such as water, gas, and electrical lines located beneath the ground.Ultraviolet (UV) / laser protectionMeasures and equipment designed to protect workers from harmful ultraviolet radiation, often in outdoor work environments.Ultrasonic testingA non-destructive testing method using ultrasonic waves to detect internal flaws or assess the thickness of materials.
VVentilationThe process of providing fresh air or removing contaminants from a work environment to maintain air quality.Vibration exposureProlonged exposure to mechanical vibrations, which can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)Organic chemicals that can evaporate into the air, contributing to air pollution and potential health hazards.Vibration white fingerA condition caused by prolonged exposure to hand-arm vibration, resulting in circulatory and sensory disturbances.
WWorkplace ergonomicsThe science of designing and arranging the workplace to fit the capabilities and limitations of the human body, promoting safety and efficiency.Workplace violenceIncidents where employees are abused, threatened, or assaulted in their work environment.Welding safetyPrecautions and practices to ensure the safe use of welding equipment and protect workers from welding-related hazards.Warehouse safetySafety measures and practices to ensure the well-being of workers in storage and distribution facilities.Workforce Health SurveillanceMonitoring and assessing the health status of employees to identify and address potential occupational hazards or health risks in the workplace.
XX-ray safetySafety measures and protocols to protect workers from exposure to ionizing radiation in medical or industrial settings.Xylene exposureContact or inhalation of xylene, a solvent used in various industries, which can cause health issues including irritation and neurological effects.X-ray fluorescence (XRF)A technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials by measuring the characteristic X-rays emitted.
YYield strengthThe amount of stress a material can withstand without permanent deformation.Yield pointThe stress at which a material undergoes a transition from elastic deformation to plastic deformation.Yield stressThe stress at which a material undergoes significant plastic deformation or permanent deformation.
ZZero accident philosophyA proactive approach aiming for a workplace environment where no accidents or injuries are considered acceptable.