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J. Gilbertson - Health and safety glossary
Category: Agriculture and Industry > Health and Safety Sound
Date & country: 12/11/2007, UK
Words: 1069


Absorbed Dose(radiation)
Quantity of energy imparted by ionising radiation to unit mass of matter such as tissue. Unit: Gray, symbol: Gy. 1 Gy = 1 joule per kilogram.

Absorption (noise)
The use of a material or structure to absorb noise energy and prevent its reflection.

Absorptive Silencers
Used to reduce noise from gas exhausts and gas jets by providing an absorbing medium at the exit of the jet. They attenuate more at higher frequencies.

Acceleration
Magnitude of vibration measured in ms-2 based upon an average acceleration level (Root Mean Square) measured by an Accelerometer.

Accelerometer
Instrument for measuring vibration that is weighted, or has a filter which reduces the sensitivity of the instrument to less damaging high and low frequency vibrations.

Acceptable Risk
A risk which is considered not to interfere with the normal conduct of life, provided that we are satisfied that reasonable precautions are in place. It is normally taken to be in the region of one in a million of a seriously adverse occurrence. See also Unacceptable Risk and Tolerable Risk.

Accident Costs
See Direct Costs, Indirect Costs, Insured Costs and Uninsured Costs.

Accident Rates
See Frequency Rate, Incident Rate, Severity Rate and Mean Duration Rate.

Accident Ratios
Triangular concepts introduced by Heinrich and Bird (among others) whose studies illustrated a relationship between major injuries, minor injuries and no-injury accidents.

Accident1
An unplanned event, arising out of an unsafe act or unsafe condition, which causes injury or damage or has the potential to do so. (The Key Consultancy Ltd)

Accident2
An undesired circumstance(s) which gives rise to ill health, injury, damage, production losses or increased liabilities. (HSG65). The term accident is now out of favour with the HSE who acknowledge its connotations with chance and misfortune which may lead some to adopt an attitude of inevitability in their treatment of these events. See Incident.

ACoP
Approved Code of Practice.

Acoustic Haven
An enclosure or cabin possessing noise attenuation characteristics where a worker can obtain relief from the need to constantly wear hearing protection devices.

Act of Parliament
Statutory code voted in by both Houses of Parliament which implements Government policy on social behaviour.

Activated Charcoal Tube
See Adsorption Tube.

Active Monitoring
Activity directed towards checking compliance with an organisation`s OH&S management system.

Activity
Attribute of an amount of a radionuclide. It is used to describe the rate at which transformations occur in it. Unit: becquerel, symbol: Bq. 1 Bq = 1 transformation per second.

ACTS
Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances. An official committee which sets occupational exposure limits based upon assessments made by WATCH and taking into account, among other things: risks, evidence of health effects, socio-economic implications etc.

Actus Reus
An event or state of affairs which is forbidden by the criminal law – ‘the guilty act`, or (in civil law) the act which directly leads to a breach of the duty of care.

Acute Effects (health)
The immediate effect of a chemical, biological or physical agent after a single exposure.

Adsorption Tube
Atmospheric monitoring device comprising a small glass tube filled with charcoal adsorbent material. Air is drawn through the tube by means of a pump and any contaminant present is then adsorbed onto the charcoal. The charcoal is subsequently removed and analysed to determine the nature of contaminant and/or concentration.

Aerodynamic Diameter
The diameter of a hypothetical sphere of unit density (ie sg = 1.0) having the same terminal settling velocity as the particle in question, regardless of the particle's geometric size, shape and density.

Aerosol
A suspension of any solid particles or liquid droplets in air.

Agent of Change
See Change Agent.

AIDS
A syndrome caused by the human immunodeficiency virus which attacks the body`s immune defence mechanism. The virus is transmitted via body fluids and workers most at risk include doctors, dentists and emergency services.

Air Cleaning Device
A component of a ventilation system which removes contaminants from outgoing or incoming air.

ALARA
As low as reasonably achievable – an expression used in risk reduction which defines a stricter standard than ALARP by requiring a test of technical feasibility and current knowledge to be taken into consideration.

ALARP
As low as reasonably practicable – an expression used in risk reduction to define a standard or point at which (the cost of) additional risk reduction measures would be grossly disproportionate to the benefits achieved.

Alienation
Condition experienced by an individual when their needs are not being fulfilled, leading to withdrawal or possible aggression.

Allergen
Any substance, usually a protein, which, taken into the body, makes the body hypersensitive (allergic) to it. See allergy.

Allergic Dermatitis
A condition of the skin occurring on subsequent exposure to a substance to which a person has become sensitised. Once sensitised, only a small dose is sufficient to cause a reaction.

Allergy
Special sensitivity to an allergen manifesting itself in asthma like symptoms, rashes, hay fever and eczema amongst other things.

Alpha Particle
A particle emitted by a radionuclide consisting of two protons plus two neutrons.

Alpha Radiation
A form of particulate radiation which causes ionisation. It is made up of swiftly moving nuclei of positively charged helium atoms. Because of their limited powers of penetration alpha particles present their main risk from contamination inside the body when alpha emitters are inhaled or ingested.

Alternating current (AC)
Electrical current which varies in direction and magnitude having the characteristics of a sine wave oscillation.

Alternative Means of Escape
An additional exit route provided where initial travel distance in a room exceeds the specified minimum.

Alveoli (plural)
The minute air sacs of the lungs where respiration occurs (Alveolus singular).

Alveolitis
Inflammation of the alveoli of the lungs caused by an allergic reaction. See Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis.

Ames Test
A method for determining the carcinogenicity of substances based upon the belief that carcinogens induce gene mutation. Instead of animal testing, bacteria grown in a culture medium is used and mutant colonies observed and counted.

Amosite
Brown asbestos.

Amplitude (noise)
The peak pressure level of a sound wave with respect to normal air pressure (i.e., maximum compression (+ve) or maximum rarefraction (-ve).

Anemometer
Instrument used for measurement of air speed. See Hot Wire Anemometer and Rotating Vane Anemometer.

Anthrax
A sometimes fatal zoonose which affects the skin or lung. It is transmitted through the inhalation of spores or contact with the skin. The bacteria which occurs primarily in animals can survive outside the host in the ground for many years. Occupations most at risk are those treating animal skins and hides.

Anthropology
A branch of the behavioural sciences concerned with the study of whole communities and societies seeking to illustrate interdependence and interrelatedness of social groups within them. Broadest study of mankind ie, mind, body, environment, race, evolution.

Anthropometry
The scientific measurement of the human body.

Antigen
A substance foreign to the body which causes the production of antibodies. See Lymphocyte.

APF
Assigned Protection Factor.

Aplastic Anaemia
The cessation of red corpuscle production in bone marrow caused by exposure to benzene, trinitrotoluene, irradiation and organic insecticides.

Appointed Person1
A person who is not a first aider but is appointed and trained by an employer to carry out duties involved in the management of a first aid emergency.

Appointed Person2
Arising out of PUWER, a person with suitable and sufficient training who is appointed in writing by an employer to inspect and test guards and/or protection devices on power presses.

Approved Code of Practice
A device introduced by s16 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by which the Health and Safety Commission may approve industrial standards and working practices which meet the requirements of a particular set of Regulations. ACoPs give advice on how to comply with the law and have special legal status in so far as they may be used in evidence to support a prosecution (or a defence) for breaches of Regulations.

Aptitude
The ability to deal with aspects of the environment. An innate ability to perform a particular behaviour.

Arc Eye
An extremely painful conjunctivitis including photophobia (unwillingness to look at light) follows a few hours after exposure to ultra-violet radiation used in welding. The condition usually involves the cornea as well as conjunctiva (keratoconjunctivitis).

Area Sampling
The collection of samples of airborne concentrations of substances hazardous to health by placing a sampling device at selected points in a workplace which may produce a representative sample of the contamination which exits.

Argyria
Silver-blue skin discolouration caused by long-term exposure to silver salts.

Argyris (Chris)
Management guru whose main relevance is his work into the effects of organisational control on the growth trends of a healthy personality.

Article 100a
See Article 95.

Article 118a
See Article 137.

Article 137
Article of the Single European Act aimed at harmonising the standards of safety of people at the workplace.

Article 95
Article of the Single European Act aimed at removing the barriers to trade for new machinery and equipment.

Asbestos
Potently toxic material known to cause cancer in humans and fibrotic disease. See asbestosis.

Asbestosis
A prescribed disease which occurs predominantly in the deep lung producing fibrotic nodules which gradually conglomerate reducing lung function and causing breathing difficulties. Also notifiable under RIDDOR (see Mesothelioma).

Aspergillosis
A prescribed disease caused by exposure to the Aspergillus fungus commonly associated with asthma-like symptoms. It can occasionally grow in the eye or heart valves with serious consequences. Occupations at risk include farming and horticulture.

Asphyxiant
A substance which has the properties to suffocate a living being. See Simple Asphyxiant and Chemical Asphyxiant.

Assessed Risk
The level of risk (of a particular outcome) as valued by expert opinion and generally based upon relevant data, knowledge and experience, and probabilistic conclusions. See also Estimated Risk.

Assigned Protection Factor
The level of respiratory protection that can realistically be expected to be achieved in the workplace by 95% of adequately trained and supervised wearers using a properly functioning and correctly fitted respiratory protective device.

Assumed Protection Value (APV)
A prediction of the noise reduction possible to achieve in real use, usually calculated as the mean attenuation minus one standard deviation.

Asthma
See Occupational Asthma.

Atom
The smallest portion of an element that can combine chemically with other atoms.

Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
An analytical technique which involves the absorption of light energy by an atomic vapour. The wavelength at which absorption occurs is characteristic of the element; and the degree of absorption is a function of the concentration of atoms in the vapour.

Atomic Mass
The mass of an isotope of an element expressed in atomic mass units, which are defined as one-twelfth of the mass of an atom of carbon-12.

Atomic Number
The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom which determines its chemical properties.

Attention Mechanism
Component of human functioning which allows us to select particular information from the vast amount detectable by the senses.

Attenuation
The noise reduction achieved by control measures in dB.

Attenuation Data
Information provided by a supplier of hearing protection devices about the attenuation properties of their products.

Attitude
A predisposition to think, act or feel in a particular way about a particular issue.

Audiometry
A technique used for assessing the degree of hearing loss in a person.

Audit
See Safety Audit.

Authorised Person
A senior manager or authority in a company whose responsibility is to issue a permit to work. See also Responsible Person.

Authority
The ability to get things done because one`s orders are seen to be legitimate or justified – legitimate power.

Autoignition Temperature
The lowest temperature at which a substance will ignite spontaneously (ie without the presence of a source of ignition).

Automatic Guard
A protective device linked to the action of a machine which moves the guard into position when the machine cycle begins, and in the process moves the operator away from the danger zone.

Back up System
A reliability engineering technique which activates a safety or protection device should the primary system fail, eg a mechanical-scotch.

Bacteria
Organisms which come in a variety of shapes eg spherical (cocci), rod shaped (bacilli) etc. They may exist as a single cell or grow in colonies many of them being able to survive independently of any other organism.

Ballistic Action
A behaviour which once initiated will continue to the end without conscious thought or external control, even if no longer appropriate in the circumstances.

Ballistic Over-learning
The over-learning of an activity to the point at which it can be delegated to a sub-controlling part of the brain.

Base Plate
A small flat metal plate fitted to the bottom end of a scaffold standard which increases the surface in contact with the ground.

Basic Cause
The element of failure or loss of control prior to the existence of the immediate cause of an accident. See Root Causes.

Basic Survey
A sampling approach which concentrates on assessing the ‘worst case` and using this as an index of the overall risk. For large numbers of workers they should be divided into homogenous groups in relation to type of work, location, duration etc. The groups with the highest suspected exposure can then be studied ensuring that individual work patterns and exposure cycles have been adequately covered.

Bathtub Curve
Graphical representation of the expected failure rates of a component. So called because of its similarity to a bathtub.

BATNEEC
Best Available Technique Not Entailing Excessive Cost.

Becquerel
See Activity.

Behaviour
Description of what a person does in the context of others, action in response to a stimulus. An activity directly detectable by the senses of an observer.

Behaviour Modification
The systematic positive reinforcement of required behaviour, whilst at the same time ignoring or exercising negative reinforcement to eliminate unwanted behaviour.

Behavioural Science
A collective term used to describe those scientific disciplines which have varying degrees of concern with the study of human kind, see also Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and Ergonomics.

Bench-marking
A planned process by which an organisation compares its health and safety processes with other organisations with the objectives of reducing accidents and ill-health; improving legal compliance; and cutting compliance costs.

Benchmark Guidance Value
A biological monitoring guidance value set at around the 90th percentile of available validated data. The data is obtained from those industries which employ good working practices. It is a level which can be achieved by the majority of industry by employing good working practices.

Best Practicable Means
A standard, usually indicated by a regulating authority, expressing views of what can be achieved in given circumstances. These are given in the form of published notes or documents.

Beta Particle
An electron emitted by the nucleus of a radionuclide. The electric charge may be positive, in which case the beta particle is called a positron.

Beta Radiation
A form of particulate radiation which causes ionisation. It involves electrons travelling at very high speed. Beta particles have moderate penetrating powers in soft tissue (about 1cm) causing superficial damage.