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Health & Safety Glossary

Here we have assembled a glossary of common health and safety terminologies. Where we've covered a topic within our insights section, we've provided a link so you can learn more about each topic.


Use the links below to explore alphabetically:


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


understanding health and safety terminology - a glossary


A


Accident: An unplanned event that results in injury, damage, or loss.


Accident Frequency Rate: The number of accidents that occur per unit of exposure, usually expressed as accidents per million hours worked.


Accident Investigation: A systematic process of examining the circumstances surrounding an accident to determine its causes and prevent recurrence.


Accident Investigation Report: A formal document detailing the findings of an accident investigation, including causes and recommendations for prevention.


Accident Prevention: Measures taken to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring in the workplace.


Accidental Release: The unplanned release or spillage of hazardous substances in the workplace, which can pose risks to workers' health and safety.


Accidental Release Prevention: Measures taken to prevent the unplanned release or spillage of hazardous substances in the workplace, such as engineering controls, administrative controls, and employee training.


Acute Exposure: Short-term exposure to a hazard, usually resulting in immediate health effects.


Asbestos: A naturally occurring fibrous material once commonly used in construction but now known to cause serious health risks.


Asphyxiant Gas: A gas that displaces oxygen in the air, leading to suffocation if inhaled in high concentrations.


Asphyxiation: Suffocation due to lack of oxygen or excess presence of other gases.


B


Biological Hazard Assessment: An evaluation of the potential risks posed by exposure to biological hazards in the workplace, such as infectious diseases, allergens, or toxins, to develop appropriate control measures and protective strategies.


Biological Hazards: Hazards posed by living organisms or their products, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.


Biological Monitoring: The measurement of biological markers (e.g., blood, urine) to assess exposure to hazardous substances.


Biological Monitoring Program: A program for regularly monitoring workers' exposure to hazardous substances by analysing biological samples such as blood or urine.


C


Carcinogen: A substance capable of causing cancer.


Carcinogen Exposure Assessment: The process of measuring and evaluating workers' exposure to carcinogenic substances in the workplace to assess the risk of cancer development and implement preventive measures.


Carcinogenic Substance: A substance known to cause cancer in humans or animals, such as asbestos, benzene, or formaldehyde.


Carcinogenicity: The ability of a substance to cause cancer.


Chemical Hazard: Any chemical substance that poses a risk to health or safety, including toxicity, flammability, and reactivity.


Confined Space: A space with limited entry and exit points, poor ventilation, or other hazards that may pose risks to workers.


Confined Space Entry: The process of entering and working in a confined space, which requires specific precautions and procedures.


Confined Space Entry Permit: A formal document authorising entry into a confined space and outlining the precautions and procedures to be followed.


Confined Space Entry Training: Instruction provided to workers on the hazards associated with confined space entry, the use of personal protective equipment, and emergency rescue procedures to ensure safe entry and work in confined spaces.


Confined Space Rescue: The process of safely rescuing workers from confined spaces in emergencies, often requiring specialised training and equipment.


COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health): Regulations that require employers to control exposure to hazardous substances.

D


Decontamination: The process of removing or neutralising contaminants to make something safe for use or handling.


Designated First Aider: A person trained and designated to provide first aid in the workplace.


Dermal Exposure: Exposure to hazardous substances through contact with the skin, which can lead to absorption and health effects.


Display Screen Equipment (DSE): Equipment such as computers and monitors, regulated to ensure ergonomic and safe use.


E


EHS Health & Safety Management Software: a digital platform that may operate across desktop and mobile devices which streamlines the reporting and recording of health & safety processes and operations within an organisation. See also, health & safety management system.


Emergency Evacuation Plan: A documented plan outlining procedures for safely evacuating a building or site in an emergency.


Emergency Response Drill: Practice exercises conducted to test and evaluate the effectiveness of emergency response plans and procedures.


Emergency Response Plan: A documented plan outlining procedures for responding to emergencies such as fires, chemical spills, or medical incidents.


Emergency Response Plan Review: Periodic evaluation of emergency response plans and procedures to ensure they remain current, effective, and compliant with regulatory requirements, industry best practices, and organisational changes.


Emergency Response Team: A group of trained individuals responsible for responding to emergencies such as fires, medical incidents, or chemical spills.


Ergonomics: The study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body and its cognitive abilities.


Exposure Assessment: The process of quantifying the extent of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.


Exposure Control Plan: A documented plan outlining measures to control and minimise exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.


Exposure Limit: The maximum allowable concentration of a hazardous substance in the air or environment.


Exposure Monitoring: The process of measuring and evaluating workers' exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace to ensure compliance with exposure limits.


Exposure Monitoring Program: A systematic program for monitoring and evaluating workers' exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace through air sampling, biological monitoring, or other methods to assess compliance with exposure limits and identify opportunities for risk reduction.


F


Fall Arrest System: Equipment designed to prevent or arrest falls from height.


Fire Drill: Practice evacuation procedures to ensure people know what to do in case of a fire.


Fire Extinguisher: A portable device used to extinguish small fires by discharging an extinguishing agent.


Fire Risk Assessment: An evaluation of the fire hazards present in a workplace and the effectiveness of existing fire safety measures.


Fire Safety Inspection: A comprehensive examination of the workplace to identify fire hazards, assess the effectiveness of fire prevention and protection measures, and ensure compliance with fire safety regulations and standards.


Fire Safety Training: Instruction provided to workers on fire prevention, evacuation procedures, and the proper use of fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment.


First Aid: Initial medical assistance provided to a person suffering from injury or illness.


G


Gas Cylinder: A pressurised container used to store and transport gases, which requires careful handling and storage.


Gas Cylinder Handling: Safe practices for transporting, storing, connecting, and disconnecting gas cylinders to prevent accidents, leaks, or other incidents associated with compressed gases.


Gas Cylinder Storage: The proper storage and handling of gas cylinders to prevent leaks, spills, and other hazards associated with compressed gases.


Gas Detector: A device used to detect the presence of gases in the air, especially in confined spaces or areas where gas leaks may occur.


Gas Detection System: A network of sensors and alarms used to detect the presence of hazardous gases in the air.


H


Health and Safety Committee: A group of workers and management representatives responsible for promoting and maintaining health and safety in the workplace.


Health and Safety Executive (HSE): A UK government agency responsible for enforcing health and safety legislation.


Health and Safety Management System: An integrated framework of policies, procedures, and practices designed to manage health and safety risks in the workplace, promote a positive safety culture, and achieve compliance with legal requirements and industry standards.


Health and Safety Policy: A written statement outlining an organisation's commitment to health and safety, including goals, responsibilities, and procedures.


Health and Safety Training: Instruction provided to workers on the hazards present in their workplace and how to work safely.


Health Surveillance: The systematic monitoring of workers' health to identify and prevent work-related illnesses or injuries.


I


Incident: Any event that has the potential to cause harm, including near misses and accidents.


Incident Investigation: A process of examining incidents or near misses to identify their causes and implement corrective actions.


Incident Investigation Team: A group of individuals responsible for investigating workplace incidents to determine their causes and recommend corrective actions.


Incident Rate: The number of incidents that occur within a given time period, often expressed as incidents per 100,000 hours worked.


Incident Reporting: The process of documenting and reporting workplace incidents, near misses, and hazards to management or regulatory authorities.


J


Job Hazard Analysis (JHA): A process of identifying and assessing hazards associated with specific job tasks to develop controls and safe work practices.


Job Safety Analysis (JSA): A systematic process of evaluating the hazards associated with a particular job or task to develop safe work procedures.


Job Safety Training: Training provided to workers on safe work practices and procedures specific to their job roles.


K


L


Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER): Regulations governing the safe use of lifting equipment in the workplace.


M


Manual Handling: The lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling of loads by hand or bodily force.


N


NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health): A UK-based examination board offering qualifications in health, safety, and environmental management.


Noise Control: Measures taken to reduce or mitigate noise levels in the workplace to protect workers from hearing damage.


Noise Exposure: The level and duration of exposure to noise, which can impact hearing health.


Noise Exposure Assessment: The process of measuring and evaluating workers' exposure to noise to determine if it exceeds permissible exposure limits and requires control measures.


Noise Induced Hearing Loss: Hearing impairment caused by exposure to excessive noise levels over time.


O


Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL): The maximum concentration of a hazardous substance that workers can be exposed to over a specified period without experiencing adverse health effects.


Occupational Health: The branch of medicine concerned with the health and well-being of people in the workplace.


Occupational Hygiene: The science and practice of recognising, evaluating, and controlling workplace hazards to protect worker health.


Occupational Injury: Any injury sustained by a worker in the course of their employment, including cuts, sprains, and fractures.


P


Personal Fall Protection: Equipment used to protect workers from falls from height, such as harnesses, lanyards, and anchor points.


Personal Protective Clothing: Clothing worn to protect the body from workplace hazards, such as heat, chemicals, or sharp objects.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment worn to minimise exposure to hazards that could cause injury or illness.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Program: A program for selecting, providing, and maintaining personal protective equipment to ensure workers are adequately protected from workplace hazards.


Permit to Work: A formal document authorising specific work to be carried out under controlled conditions.


Q


R


Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR): Regulations that require employers to report specified workplace injuries, diseases, and incidents to the authorities.


Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE): Personal protective equipment worn to protect the wearer from inhaling harmful substances.


Risk Assessment: An evaluation of potential risks in the workplace to identify hazards and implement control measures.

Risk Assessment Matrix: A tool used to assess and prioritise workplace hazards based on their severity and likelihood of occurrence, often used to develop risk control measures.


Risk Control: Measures taken to mitigate or eliminate hazards and reduce the risk of harm.


Risk Management: The process of identifying, assessing, and controlling risks in the workplace to protect worker health and safety.


RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations): Regulations that require employers to report specified workplace injuries, diseases, and incidents to the authorities.


S


Safety Culture: The shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours related to safety within an organisation.


Safety Data Sheet (SDS): A document containing information on the properties, hazards, and safe handling procedures for a chemical substance.


Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Management: The process of obtaining, organising, and maintaining safety data sheets for hazardous substances used or stored in the workplace to ensure workers have access to essential safety information.


Safety Inspection: A systematic examination of the workplace to identify hazards, unsafe conditions, and compliance with health and safety regulations.


Safety Signage: Visual cues, such as signs and symbols, used to convey health and safety information.


T


Task Hazard Analysis (THA): A process of identifying and evaluating hazards associated with specific tasks or activities to develop controls and safe work procedures.


Task Hazard Assessment: A systematic evaluation of hazards associated with specific tasks or activities to identify and implement controls and safe work practices.


Task Rotation: Rotating workers between different tasks to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries or fatigue.


Task Rotation Program: A schedule or system for rotating workers between different tasks to reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries and repetitive strain.


U


UV Radiation: Ultraviolet radiation from the sun or artificial sources, which can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.


V


Ventilation: The process of providing fresh air or removing contaminants from an enclosed space to maintain air quality and protect worker health.


Ventilation System: Equipment used to provide fresh air and remove contaminants from enclosed spaces, such as air conditioning, fans, and exhaust systems.


W


Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL): The maximum concentration of a hazardous substance that workers can be exposed to over a specified period.


Workplace Safety Committee: A group of workers and management representatives responsible for promoting and maintaining workplace health and safety.


Workplace Safety Culture: The shared values, attitudes, and behaviours related to safety within an organisation, which influence the way individuals perceive and manage risks in the workplace.


Work at Height Regulations: Regulations governing the safe use of equipment and procedures when working at height.


Work-related Illness: Any illness or disease caused or aggravated by workplace exposures, such as respiratory conditions or occupational dermatitis.


X


Y


Z

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