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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

A control measure involving the separation of a hazardous process from the external environment by keeping it under negative pressure for example.

Endocrine System
Comprises glands, like the pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, and the gonads, which control many functions from growth to glucose metabolism and reproduction.

Intracellular toxin (retained within bacteria and liberated when bacteria disintegrates).

Enforcement Authority
An authority given powers by statute to enforce health, safety and environmental legislation. See Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Environmental Health Officer (EHO) and Environment Agency.

All or any of the following media, namely, air, water and land; and one medium of air includes air within buildings and the air within other natural or man made structures above or below the ground (Environmental Protection Act).

Environment Agency
Regulatory body set up to administer environmental legislation in England and Wales. See SEPA.

Environmental Health Officer
An enforcement officer employed by local authorities having jurisdiction over spheres of non-industrial employment, (offices and shops etc). Powers are the same as HSE in occupational safety and health.

The study of the distribution of disease and of the factors which determine it within a population.

Equivalent Dose (Radiation)
The quantity obtained by multiplying the absorbed dose by a factor to allow for the different effectiveness of the various ionising radiations in causing harm to tissue. Unit: sievert, symbol: Sv.

Process by which work systems are designed so that machines, human tasks and the environment are compatible with the capabilities of the people using the system. Encompasses physical, physiological and psychological considerations.

A category of human failure which includes skill-based errors such as slips of action and lapses of memory, and mistakes such as rule based mistakes and knowledge based mistakes.

Reddening of the skin caused by dilation of blood vessels.

Eschericia coli
Rod shaped bacterium commonly found in the large intestine of humans and other animals. Its presence in water is an indicator of faecal pollution and upon ingestion it can cause (severe) food poisoning.

Estimated Risk
The level of risk (of a particular outcome) where a degree of certainty or precision can be claimed. See Risk Estimation.

European Union.

Equivalent unit density sphere. See Unit Density Sphere.

European Commission
Civil service body which administers the programme of legislation emanating from European Union.

European Court of Justice
ECJ is a court of the European Union, independent of other community institutions, whose task is to interpret the European Constitution and other enactments in times of dispute. It can hear cases involving EU treaties and subordinate European legislation brought by, or against, the Council of Ministers or the European Commission. It can also provide preliminary rulings to national courts on the clarification of community law.

European Directive
A legal instrument of the European Union used frequently to harmonise the laws of member states. It is binding in principle (as regards the objective to be achieved) but leaves the choice of form and methods used to achieve it to the domestic legal processes of member states (see also Decision).

European Regulations
Legal acts which override the domestic legal systems of members states of the European Union. These apply directly in the form expressed and are binding in their entirety.

European Safety Agency
See European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

European Union
A family of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity.

Event Tree Analysis
A technique used for assessing major hazards which starts at the initiating event and constructs a tree from that event through a number of paths representing the success or failure of each relevant control device. It is based upon a binary logic that the control will operate or fail to operate and a probability is assigned to each outcome. From this each failure path can be ranked to its relative importance.

Exceptional Violation
A violation created when something goes wrong and the operator believes that the only solution is to break the rules even though it could be seen as taking a risk. The benefits of following this course of action may appear to outweigh the risk. The accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station is a prime example of this type of behaviour, with engineers continuing to improvise after a mistake and making things worse. See Routine Violation and Situational Violation.

A process by which radiation imparts energy to an atom or molecule without causing ionisation. It is dissipated as heat in tissue.

The process of expelling toxic substances from the body through the kidneys via the urine, but also via bile (high molecular weight compounds), lungs (volatile hydrocarbons excreted unchanged), gastric juices (nicotine), breast milk (pesticides) and skin (iron).

Toxin released from the exterior of an organism.

A ‘built in` model of the world outside our head which influences our behaviour in a given situation. If the world does not meet our expectation we compare reality with what we expect and modify our behaviour and future expectations accordingly. See Stereotype.

Expert Power
The ability to influence the behaviour of people because of superior knowledge and expertise relevant to the particular situation.

The rapid release of energy arising from combustion processes, electrical systems or pressure storage systems. See also Secondary Explosion.

Explosion Power
The maximum over pressure which can be reached under the prevailing conditions, measured in bar or kNm-2.

Explosion Violence
The rate at which the pressure of an explosion increases measured in bar/sec or kNm-2s.

A chemical substance or mixture in which fuel and oxidising agent are combined.

Exposure Limit
See Occupational Exposure Limit.

Express Term
A condition of a contract of employment that is expressly stated to form part of the contract and is subsequently binding.

Extra-high Pressure (electrical)
Pressure in a system (UK) normally exceeding 3000 volts where the electrical energy is used or supplied.

Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis
Name given to a collection of diseases which cause allergic inflammation of the alveoli. It results from exposure to the spores of fungi found in mouldy hay and other vegetable matter. Common forms of the illness are Farmer`s Lung, Bagassosis (mouldy sugar cane), Malt Worker`s Lung and Mushroom Picker`s Lung among others.

Eye bolt
A ring incorporating a threaded bolt which is connected to a load to create a lifting point.

Fabric Filter
Air cleaning device capable of high efficiency removal of dust contamination in air in same style as a vacuum cleaner.

Face Velocity
The velocity of air measured at the face of a local exhaust capture hood.

Factor of Safety
An allowance made during the design of a structure or appliance which seeks to ensure that applied stresses during use will be maintained well within the ultimate strength of the materials used. This allows for unexpected forces which may be encountered during use. Factor of safety = Ultimate Strength Working Stress

Fail Active
Failure mode which will cause safety systems to activate in the event of general failure eg emergency lighting upon electricity supply failure.

Fail Generational
Failure mode in which the component failure does not prevent any essential service being performed.

Fail Passive
Failure mode in which the protection system operates and stops the process in the event of a failure in any of the systems components.

Fail to Danger
Failure mode where the protection system becomes inoperative if there is a failure in any of its components. In the event of a hazardous condition arising the process/plant will continue to operate without being tripped.

Fail to Safety
See Fail Active, Fail Passive and Fail Generational.

Failure Tracing Method
An analytical technique of either inductive or deductive approach which makes a detailed assessment of a system and determines the methods and consequences of failure. See Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) and Event Tree Analysis (ETA).

Farmer`s Lung
See Aspergillosis.

Fast Neutrons
Neutrons with energies in excess of 0.1 MeV and a corresponding velocity of about 4 × 106 m s-1

Fatigue Failure
A mode of failure characterised by the slow growth of cracks in a material subjected to fluctuating stresses.

Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)
A failure oriented graphical technique providing a systematic description of the combination of possible occurrences which can lead to the specified failure or undesired event under investigation. Uses a top down flow chart to link elements via ‘and/or` logic gates. Can be quantified using probability data.

Small solid particle which has an aspect ratio of at least 3:1 with aerodynamic properties to penetrate deep into the lungs (eg asbestos).

Fibre Ropes
Used for slings, fibre ropes can be made from several materials eg: manila, hemp, sisal, coir and cotton.

Term used to describe the human being`s attention mechanism, a vast store of experiential information which can be accessed when required.

An air cleaning device used in ventilation systems.

Dust collection device used mainly for personal sampling. The three main filter materials in use are: Glass fibre, Membrane (‘plastic`) and Silver.

Final Exit
The termination of a fire escape route from a building giving direct access to a place of safety such as a street, passage or walkway sited to ensure that people can disperse safely.

Fire Alarm
Device used to warn occupants of a building of the outbreak of fire.

Fire Certificate
A compulsory document issued by the fire authority (unless exemptions apply) which requires the occupier of premises to satisfy certain fire safety conditions which may be specified.

Fire Door
A self closing fire resisting door which provides stability, integrity and insulation for a specified period of time, typically 30 or 60 minutes.

Fire Extinguisher
An appliance (usually portable) containing an extinguishing medium that can be expelled by the action of internal pressure and be directed onto a fire. The pressure may be stored pressure or created by a mixture of chemicals within the body of the extinguisher.

Fire Point
The lowest temperature at which the heat from combustion of a burning vapour is capable of producing sufficient vapour to maintain combustion.

Fire Resistance
See Stability, Integrity and Insulation.

Fire Stopping
The practice of stopping up openings with fire resisting filler in floors or ceiling where cables pipes or other services have passed through, in order to prevent the spread of fire or smoke.

First Action Level
The point at which the employer must carry out noise assessments of the exposure of the workforce. A daily personal noise exposure of 85dB(A) (at time of going to print).[1] See Second Action Level and Peak Action level.

First Aid
Treatment for the purpose of preserving life and minimising the consequences of injury and illness until the help of a medical practitioner is obtained. Definition in the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations also includes the treatment of minor injuries which would otherwise receive no treatment or which do not need treatment by a medical practitioner.

First Aider
A person designated by the employer and trained on a course approved by the HSE (see Appointed Person).

Fixed Guard
A protective device, characterised by a permanent fixing device which cannot be displaced in a casual way, which either encloses the dangerous part (of machinery) or keeps the operator at a safe distance.

Flame Arrestor
A device fitted to the opening of an enclosure or connecting pipework whose function is to allow flow out, but prevent flames from being transmitted backwards.

Flame Front
The leading edge of a flame in a combustion reaction.

Flame Ionisation Detector
In sample analysis, uses a Hydrogen/Air (or Hydrogen/Oxygen) flame which ionises most organic compounds in the sample. The collection of ions by an electrode results in electrical potential which causes a flow of current. The size of the current is dependant on the nature of the substance and its concentration.

Flammable Gas Detector
A direct reading instrument for gases which operates on a simple electrical principle utilising a wheatstone bridge. A sample from the atmosphere is drawn through the instrument passing over a heated catalyst. Combustion occurs in the presence of flammable gas and the rise in temperature is accompanied by a corresponding rise in resistance which is proportional to the concentration of gas in the atmosphere.

Flare Stack
A system used to discharge and burn unwanted or excess flammable gas in a safe and controlled manner.

Flash Point
The lowest temperature at which there is sufficient vaporisation of a substance to produce a flash momentarily when a flame is applied.


Fibres per millilitre (of air), a numerical measure for dusts and other particulate matter.

Formal Group
A group created by an organisation to achieve specific objectives laid down in the organisation`s goals.

Formal Organisation
See Formal Structure

Formal Structure
(of an organisation). The official description of the hierarchy and departmentalisation within the organisation usually illustrated by means of an organisation chart. The pattern of human relations as defined by the systems, rules, policies and regulations of the company.

Four Cs
The elements of competence, communication, control, and co-operation said to play a great part in the development of safety culture.

Fractional Dead Time – (FDT)
The moment of time that a protection system is inactive and will therefore fail to operate on demand.

Fractional Noise Exposure
Personal noise exposure related to part of the working day or an activity.

Fracture Mechanics
A mathematical technique used to determine the failure of structural components by assessing the significance of defects in terms of their likelihood to promote brittle failure and metal fatigue.

Frame of Reference
A viewpoint which influences a person`s approach to conflict. See Unitary, Pluralist and Radical.

Free Radical
A grouping of atoms that normally exists in combination with other atoms but can sometimes exist independently. They are generally very reactive in a chemical sense.

The number of complete cycles of an electromagnetic wave in a second. Unit: Hertz, symbol: Hz. 1 Hz = 1 cycle per second.

Frequency (noise)
The number of pressure variations per second measured in units of Hertz (Hz).

Frequency Analysis
Measurement and analysis of sound in its frequency components.

Frequency Rate (FR)
Statistic used to illustrate the number of accidents (of a specified type) per 100,000 hours (or other constant*). FR = Total number of accidents x 100,000 Total person hours worked *Note that the multiplier may vary for different organisations, agencies and countries. Use caution when making comparisons.

Solid particles formed by the condensation of vaporised materials such as metals (eg welding fume). Usually submicron in diameter and very reactive.

Fume Cupboard
A form of partial containment held at negative pressure by mechanical ventilation comprising an enclosed chamber accessible via a sliding/sash door. Used mainly for materials possessing toxic, corrosive or flammable characteristics.

Spore forming organisms which grow as budding cells or through the formation of filaments.

A protective device designed to cut off the electrical supply to a circuit when the current flow exceeds a predetermined value.

Gamma Radiation
A form of ionising radiation emitted by the nucleus of an atom as pure energy and travelling at the speed of light. Gamma radiation has great penetrating powers and can interact with the matter through which it is passing.

Gamma Ray
A discrete quantity of electromagnetic energy without mass or charge emitted by a radionuclide.

Elements or compounds of low molecular weight which exist purely in the gaseous phase under normal conditions.

Gas Liquid Chromatography
The mobile phase consists of a gas such as helium, nitrogen, hydrogen or argon at pressures of 10 - 50 psi. The stationary phase consists of a packed column or a capillary column which is a small open tube. Each is impregnated or coated with a liquid chosen on its polarity and that of the substances to be separated.

Geiger-Müller Tube
A glass or metal envelope containing a gas at low pressure and two electrodes which measure the discharges of Ionising radiation by registering them as electric pulses in a counter. The number of pulses is related to dose.

General Damages
Compensation awarded where no exact sum is calculable, ie for pain and suffering, loss of amenity, future income, social isolation and loss of (marriage/employment) prospects. These can be further broken down into pecuniary damages and non-pecuniary damages.

Generic Risk Assessment
A general risk assessment of a ‘type` or particular circumstances which are considered to be representative of similar risks wherever they are encountered.