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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

Beta-ray Absorption Instrument
A direct reading instrument for particulates which passes Beta particles from Carbon-14 source through dust collected on a plate. The absorption of Beta radiation is a function of the mass collected and a direct mass readout is given.

Biological Agent
Any micro-organism, cell structure, or human endoparasite (including any which have been genetically modified) which may cause infection, allergy, toxicity or otherwise create a risk to human health.

Biological Hazard
See Biological Agent.

Biological Monitoring
The measurement and assessment of hazardous substances or their metabolites in tissues, secretions, excreta or expired air, or any combination of these, in exposed workers. Measurements reflect absorption of a substance by all routes of entry. See Benchmark Guidance Value and Health Guidance Value.

Bird (Frank)
Guru of modern accident causation and prevention theory. Noted for his update of the domino theory and work on accident ratios.

Birdcage Scaffold
An independent scaffold constructed so as to provide its own support and structural integrity.

Best Practicable Environmental Option.

The diagonal metal poles which connect the outer and inner standards of a scaffold giving support to the whole structure. Those running in line with the permanent structure are called cross braces, those running at right angles to it are called ledger braces.

Breach of Statutory Duty
A criminal offence – but one for which an injured person may make a civil claim if they have suffered injury as a result of the breach (unless specifically excluded in the statute itself).

Break Even Analysis
The analysis of the point in time when an investment will be repaid by the benefits estimated in a cost benefit analysis.

Breathing Apparatus
A respiratory protective device which provides air from an uncontaminated source which enables it to be used in oxygen deficient environments.

Breathing Zone
A notional hemisphere close to a person`s nose and mouth in which the sampling head of a personal atmospheric monitoring device is positioned in order to provide a representative sample of exposure.

The ability of an explosive substance to release energy at a rate which cannot be absorbed by the movement of an object and which causes shattering of objects in the path of the shock wave.

Brittle Failure
A fast fracture in a (generally) brittle material which occurs with little or no warning.

Brownian Motion
The movement in air of particles of less than 0.1 µm which behave like molecules and move randomly in air.

A zoonose and prescribed disease, caused by contact with bacteria (brucella) in infected milk or discharges during animal birth. Transmission to humans is through broken skin or mucous membranes. Main occupations at risk are farmers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinary workers.

A term used to describe the unstable compressive collapse of structural members eg scaffolding.

A style of organisation based upon legal-rational authority capable of producing a high degree of efficiency, characterised by a belief in rules and order and managed by distinct official roles. See Role Culture.


A form of occupational asthma, arising from exposure to inhaled cotton dust (among others) and causing permanent narrowing of the airways. It is a prescribed disease whose symptoms include progressive tightness in the chest, cough and shortness of breath.

A lethal illness which can be brought on by exposure to carcinogens. Cancer can arise from very low exposures to relevant substances and may not manifest itself until some years after exposure. Called ‘neoplastic` disease (a neoplasm is a new growth), cancer may take the form of a benign, local growing tumour, or a malignant fast growing, spreading tumour which can invade other parts of the body via the lymphatic system or blood stream.

Capacitance (electron)
The ability of a system to store electrical energy which is released back into the system in the opposite direction to the flow of current. See Impedance.

Capture Velocity
The air velocity required to capture an airborne contaminant at its point of origin and cause it to flow into an LEV hood.

Carbon Monoxide
A colourless, odourless gas whose presence in a room is undetectable to the occupants.

Carboxy haemoglobin
Haemoglobin which has been converted by exposure to carbon monoxide gas and turns the blood a bright crimson colour which indicates carbon monoxide poisoning by the cherry red appearance of the victim`s face.

A substance with a known propensity to cause cancer.

Case Law
Authoritative references of previous judicial decisions and interpretations which assist in the subsequent and consistent adjudication of cases. See Judicial Precedent.

Lens opacities resulting from trauma (a penetrating wound or severe blow), heat (glassworker`s eye) and irradiation (lasers and microwaves). Cataracts can be removed and replaced by artificial lenses or contact lenses.

Construction Design and Management Regulations.

CDM Coordinator
A competent person appointed by the client under CDM whose role is to ensure the competence of designers and contractors before they are appointed. One of the main duties of the CDM Coordinator is to ensure that a Health and Safety Plan for the project is prepared before construction work starts.

CE Marking
A label or mark applied to a piece of equipment or a product to signify that it conforms to a specified European Directive(s). (CE = Conformité Européen).

Committee for European Normalisation.

European Committee for Electro-technical Standardisation, see CEN.

Used for slings, the modern trend is for high tensile steel chains whose safe working load depends upon the material used in its manufacture and the diameter of the bar from which the chain is made.

Change Agent
The helper, person or group who is attempting to influence or effect change.

Chartered Safety Practitioner
A safety professional who is a member of IOSH and has demonstrated sufficient competence through education and experience to be included as a chartered member.

Chemical Agent
In the context of health and safety, a chemical hazard in the form of dust, fume, mist, fibre, gas or vapour which has the potential to cause harm.

Chemical Analogy
A method for determining the hazards of a chemical substance for which no empirical data is available. Such a substance may be presumed to have similar hazards and risks to other chemicals of similar composition or constitution.

Chemical Asphyxiant
A chemical substance which causes suffocation by diffusing across the lung/blood barrier and interfering with the respiration process. Examples are carbon monoxide which combines with haemoglobin in preference to oxygen and prevents further oxygen take up in the blood by forming carboxy haemoglobin; and hydrogen cyanide which interferes with enzyme reactions preventing cellular respiration. See also Simple Asphyxiants.

Chemical Hazard
See Chemical Agent.

The Chemicals (Hazards, Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations.

Unpleasant skin condition resulting from the effects of some polychlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons on sebaceous glands producing blackheads and cysts on the face and neck.

Chemical analysis technique used for separating or analysing a mixture of gases, liquids or dissolved substances. It is based upon the partition of two different and immiscible substances one of which is moving (the mobile phase) and one of which is stationary (the stationary phase).

Chrome Holes
See Skin Ulceration.

Rod-shaped bodies found in the nucleus of cells in the body. They contain the genes, or hereditary constituents. Human beings possess 23 pairs.

Chronic Effects (health)
The long term accumulated effect of a chemical, biological, or physical agent after prolonged or repeated exposure.

White asbestos.

Microscopic hairs on the lining cells covering mucous membranes. See Mucociliary Escalator.

Ciliary Escalator
See Mucociliary Escalator.

Circuit Load
The current flowing when an electrical circuit is operating normally on load.

Civil Law
A branch of law conferring rights on individuals and allowing redress against the wrong doer.

Civil Liability
Liability in civil law for harm or wrong done to an individual.

Term introduced by the Woolf Report (1999) to describe a person pursuing a claim under civil law. Replaces the word plaintiff.

A person claiming state benefit under the industrial injuries benefit scheme eg disability benefit for a prescribed disease.

Classical Conditioning
A learning process observed by Pavlov in which a naturally occurring behaviour could be elicited by simultaneously pairing the stimulus which produced it, with an artificial stimulus, eventually eliciting the same behaviour with the artificial stimulus alone.

Under CDM is the person for whom work is carried out whether in-house or through contractors.

Closed System
A system which does not interact with its environment.

One of the four Cs which involves workers and their representatives in planning and reviewing performance, writing procedures and solving problems.

Code of Practice
Approved Code of Practice.

Coercive Power
The ability to influence the behaviour of people because they believe you are able and willing to administer penalties which they dislike. See also Expert Power and Reward Power.

Cold Stress
Hypothermia, a clinically diagnosed condition when the body core temperature drops below 35oC.

Collective Dose(radiation)
See Collective Effective Dose.

Collective Effective Dose
The quantity obtained by multiplying the average effective dose by the number of people exposed to a given source of ionising radiation. Unit: man sievert, symbol: man Sv.

Common Law
A source of law which is not written in statute, but is developed over time by judicial precedent. Breaches of common law may lead to criminal offences (eg murder) or to civil torts (eg negligence).

One of the four Cs which involves the process of imparting knowledge or information. It is an essential part of an organisation which does not mean that every individual must be able to communicate with very other but each at least should be touched by the network of communication.

A monetary award given to the victim of a civil wrong which varies according to the degree of harm done. See Damages.

One of the four Cs which involves the process of ensuring that the necessary skills and knowledge are available to carry out all tasks safely.

Competent Person1
A person with sufficient knowledge and experience to undertake a noise assessment. One who has the ability to work unsupervised and has a good understanding and practical experience of what information needs to be obtained, how to use and look after the instruments involved and how to present the information in an intelligible manner. (Noise at Work Regulations).

Competent Person2
One who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to be able to assist the employer in discharging the statutory duties imposed (MHSW Reg 6).

Competent Person3
Definitions are extended to include technical knowledge …. to prevent danger (EAWR), practical and theoretical knowledge and experience (LOLER).

A network of inferences that may be brought into play by an act of categorisation.

Any material which is capable of conducting electricity (electricity is synonymous with electrical energy) and therefore includes both metals and all other conducting materials. The definition is not limited to conductors intended to carry current and so includes, for example, metal structures, salt water, ionised gases and conducting particles.

Confined Space
Any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk. These include loss of consciousness due to rise of body heat or asphyxiation, drowning due to rising liquid level or free flowing solid, serious injury arising from fire or explosion, or entrapment preventing escape: (Confined Space Regulations).

Confined Vapour Cloud Explosion
Explosion of a vapour cloud inside a container, room or building where the associated pressure rise is confined until rupture of the containment. See UCVE.

The progression of combustion to adjacent combustible materials not involved in the originating deflagration.

Disagreement (which may be either functional or dysfunctional) leading to a power struggle.

Painful eye condition characterised by redness, discomfort and watering of the eyes caused by irritant gases, like sulphur dioxide and ammonia can cause conjunctivitis. Allergens like plants and dyes sometimes produce a similar reaction.

Constructive Dismissal
A situation in which an employee terminates the contract of employment with or without notice because the conduct of the employer constitutes a repudiation of the contract. The employee accepts that repudiation by resigning.

An agreement made between two parties which is intended to be legally binding.

Contract of Employment
A binding agreement between an employer and employee containing explicit and implicit terms relating to the conditions of employment.

A company or one of its employees not employed by an organisation but who is engaged under contract to work on the organisation`s behalf. See also Principal Contractor.

Contributory Negligence
Consideration given to the behaviour of an injured person which determines a proportion of blame and causes the damages awarded to be reduced accordingly.

One of the four Cs which involves the demonstration of commitment and leadership, supported by clear rules and procedures which are rigorously applied.

Control Interlocking
A safeguarding system for machinery in which the interlock switch is attached to the guard to detect movement, and open the switch contacts whenever the guard is not fully closed.

Control Measure
A technical, procedural or behavioural technique applied in specific circumstances to either eliminate risk or reduce it to an acceptable level.

Controlled Waste
Any waste from households or commercial or industrial premises. (Excludes agricultural and radioactive waste).

Coping Behaviour
Activity adopted by a person when satisfactions are threatened which may include eg. daydreaming, withdrawal, aggression, projection and regression (among others).

Corporate Killing
Proposed offence at the time of going to print intended to simplify bringing charges in the case of fatal accidents at work. It will be used in circumstances where the conduct of the company falls far below what can be reasonably expected in the circumstances.

Corporate Manslaughter
The concept that a company rather than an individual can be brought to justice for the death of an employee. Prosecutions to date have been fraught with difficulty because of the problems associated with proving mens rea (of a non-human defendant). See Corporate Killing.

Corrected Effective Temperature
‘Corrected` to take into account radiation conditions by incorporating the black globe thermometer in place of the dry bulb.

The ability to cause severe damage to living tissue by chemical action.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.

Cost Benefit Analysis
A qualitative and quantitative assessment made of the data collected in relation to an initiative or change programme. To make a judgement we need to consider costs such as capital expenditure required, ongoing maintenance, training and likely payback term, and balance these against the benefits such as reduction in accident losses, improved attendance, better efficiency and higher production.

Council of Ministers
The supreme decision making body of the European Union. It comprises of the relevant ministers from each of the member states for the subject under discussion. Eg Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Industry etc.

County Court
Venue for the trial of civil cases of (usually) small value, presided over by a circuit judge.

Court of Appeal
Court composed of senior judges including the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and the Lords Justice of Appeal. Jurisdiction covers appeals from the High Court, County Courts and Tribunals.

Cranes and Lifting Machines
A variety of cranes and lifting machines can be found in use throughout the world`s workplaces. They range from small beams with pulleys attached, through mobile cranes, to huge fixed gantries capable of lifting hundreds of tonnes. Small appliances are commonly called hoists but these should be distinguished from the legal meaning of the word. A more accurate description of small appliances would be a winch or block and tackle. See Mobile Crane, Tower Crane and Overhead Travelling Crane.

A permanent deformation in a material which occurs over a period of time, often associated with plant operating at high temperatures.

A specified breach of the criminal law (eg see section 33 of HASAWA for breaches) which requires proof by the prosecution of both mens rea and actus reus. Unless strict liability applies.

Criminal Law
Branch of law setting out societal standards for correct behaviour and conferring maximum penalties for non-compliance.