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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 quantum of electromagnetic radiation.

Physical Agent
In the context of health and safety a physical hazard in the form of noise, vibration or radiation which has the potential to cause harm.

Physical Hazard
See Physical Agent.

Piezo Balance
Dust measurement instrument which gives a direct mass concentration readout. A crystal is set up in oscillation and the rate of oscillation is influenced by the amount of dust deposited on it.

Pitot Tube
An open ended tube which is connected to a manometer with the other end placed in the airflow enabling total pressure to be measured.

Pitot-static Tube
A combination of a pitot tube surrounded by a second tube which provides static pressure measurements.

An injured or aggrieved person making a claim under civil law. See Claimant.

Plenum Ventilation
Mechanical form of dilution ventilation (from the Latin plenus meaning full).

A frame of reference based upon the premise that conflict is normal and to be expected between two parties, the balance of power shifting between one and the other depending upon the circumstances.

A prescribed disease of the lungs caused by exposure to inhaled dust, commonly found in mineworkers but many other occupational sources are listed. It is a generic description given to a range of diseases which include asbestosis, silicosis and coalworkers pneumoconiosis. Also reportable under RIDDOR.

See Safety Policy.

Polluter Pays Principle
The polluter bears the expenses of carrying out the pollution control measures decided upon by public authorities to ensure that the environment is in an acceptable state (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).

The release into any environmental medium from any process or substances which are capable of causing harm to humans or any other living organisms supported by the environment.

Population Potential
The number of people that could be affected by an accident.

See Beta Particle.

Potential Difference (Electrical)
Measured relative to some fixed point in an electric field usually at earth potential (zero). Before a current will flow from one point to another say point A to point B, then A must have a higher potential than B. The unit of potential difference is the volt.

The ability to get things done by threat or force or sanction. See also Coercive Power, Expert Power, Legitimate Power, Referent Power and Reward Power.

Power Culture
A style of organisational behaviour described by Charles Handy which is based upon power emanating from central ‘Zeus like` figures.

Power Interlocking
A safeguarding system for machinery in which the movement of the guard is interlocked with the direct switching of the power to the hazard.

Personal Protective Equipment.

See Parts Per Million.

Probabilistic Risk Assessment.

A stricter duty than ‘reasonably practicable` in which the cost of precautions is not a factor. Something is practicable if it is possible to be accomplished with known means or resources and feasible within the scope of current knowledge and invention.

Precautionary Principle
Environmental measures must anticipate, prevent and attack the cause of environmental degradation. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation (UN Economic Commission for Europe).

Predicted Four Hour Sweat Rate
An index based on the concept that the sweat rate is an adequate index of heat stress. Its value is nominally the amount of sweat secreted by fit, acclimatised young men exposed to the environment for four hours. The stress is therefore directly measured by the strain it produces (in this case sweat!).

Predicted Noise Level
The noise reduction to be expected based upon attenuation data supplied by the manufacturers of noise reduction equipment or materials.

Prescribed Disease
A disease of occupational origin which is prescribed by regulations under the Social Security Act, and qualifies for Industrial Disablement Benefits. (The Social Security [Industrial Injuries] [Prescribed Diseases] Regulations).

Prescriptive Legislation
Statutory codes which specify exactly the conditions for compliance and often the means by which they should be achieved.

Pressure (electrical)
Electrical Potential. See Low Pressure, Medium Pressure, High Pressure, Extra-high Pressure.

Primary Explosion
See Explosion.

Primary Group
Small group developing within a larger system with the objective of satisfying the affiliation needs of individuals within it. They are relatively intimate, informal and based upon personal relationships rather than roles conferred by the organisation.

Primary Irritant
A substance causing an irritant effect on the skin by direct action eg acids, solvents and detergents.

Principal Contractor
The contractor who undertakes or manages the construction work for the client.

Private Nuisance
An unlawful and continuing interference with a persons use or enjoyment of land.

Proactive Monitoring
See Active Monitoring.

Probabilistic Risk Assessment
An assessment which identifies potential routes to an undesired consequence and assigns probability data to the causal paths so as to produce a quantified estimate of the risk.

The likelihood of a specific event or outcome (usually expressed as a number between 0 and 1) measured by the ratio of actual events to the total number.

Prohibition Notice1
A statutory notice which may be issued by an inspector of the HSE or an EHO which requires the recipient to cease or not to begin an activity. The notice is served where an inspector forms the opinion that the activity presents a risk of serious personal injury. A breach of statute is not necessary and the notice remains in force during the period of any appeal.

Prohibition Notice2
Statutory notice which may be issued by the fire authority on premises which present a serious risk to persons in the event of fire. The notice may prohibit the use of or restrict the use of premises until appropriate remedial action is taken.

The act of initiating and pursuing a legal action before the criminal courts.

Prospective Fault Current
The maximum current which may flow in a system when there is a short circuit or an earth fault.

Protected Disclosure
A disclosure of information made in the public interest as a qualifying disclosure under The Public Interest Disclosure Act.

Protected Face Head
Sampling head which accommodates a 25 mm dia filter and is protected by a cover plate with a single hole which generates a higher capture velocity and is useful for collecting heavier metals eg lead, cadmium.

Protected Route
A route leading to an exit from a floor or to a final exit which is separated from the remainder of the building by walls, partitions, doors, floors and/or ceilings of fire resisting construction.

Protective Device (electrical)
A device such as fuse, earth, RCD, reduced voltage transformer, etc, designed to reduce the risks associated with electrical systems.

An elementary particle with unit atomic mass approximately and unit positive electric charge.

A reportable disease of the zoonose type brought on by exposure to infected droppings, dust or feathers and infected tissues in birds. Exposure can cause respiratory infection.

A branch of the behavioural sciences concerned with the observation, explanation and prediction of individual behaviour.

An instrument for measuring atmospheric humidity utilizing a dry and wet-bulb thermometer and whirled manually or by motorized unit to provide the moderate air flow necessary to obtain an aspirated wet-bulb temperature reading.

Public Nuisance
The interference with the use or enjoyment of a property or facility by the public in general, so widespread in its range, so indiscriminate in its effects that it would be unreasonable to expect one person to take steps to put a stop to it. It may constitute a criminal offence as well as allowing a civil action to anyone who may be harmed.

Pulmonary Oedema
A waterlogging of the lungs.

Putlog Scaffold
A scaffold whose structural support is provided by putlogs. The working platform rests on the putlogs.

Metal scaffold tubes flattened at one end into a spade like shape and inserted into brickwork.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

Pyrophoric Compounds
Materials which are so reactive that contact with air or moisture causes oxidation or hydrolosis so rapidly that the heat evolved is sufficient to cause ignition.

Quantified Risk Assessment

Qualifying Disclosure
A disclosure made to a specified person or body which a worker reasonably believes tends to show: that a criminal offence has been committed; a failure to comply with a legal obligation has occurred; a danger to health and safety exists; damage to the environment; or a miscarriage of justice has taken place etc.

Qualitative Measures
Performance measures that are descriptions of situations or conditions which cannot be recorded numerically.

Conformance to specification.

Quantified Risk Assessment
Process of assignment risk to an event using numerical and probabilistic data. Often applied to large scale industrial operations which present major hazards.

Quantitative Measures
Performance measures that are described in terms of numbers, eg on a scale. The number of lost time accidents.

Quantum of Risk
The amount of risk, comprising qualitative and quantitative elements, based upon a number of factors such as probability or chance of an event occurring; the number of occasions a person is exposed to the hazard; the number of people affected by a single event; and the maximum probable loss likely to be experienced (among others).

The emission of radiant energy in the form of particles or waves. See Ionising Radiation and Non-ionising Radiation.

Radiation Protection Advisor
A person appointed by a radiation employer to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Radiation Protection Supervisor
A person appointed by a radiation employer to oversee compliance with local rules.

A frame of reference usually associated with a basic power imbalance which is permanent rather than transitory. Those without power always seeking to overthrow those with power.

Possessing the property of radioactivity.

Radioactive Waste
Useless material containing radionuclides which is categorised in the nuclear power industry according to activity (and other criteria) as low level, intermediate level, and high level waste.

The property of radionuclides of spontaneously emitting ionising radiation.

Radiofrequency Radiation (RF)
Electromagnetic radiation used for telecommunications and found in the electromagnetic spectrum at longer wavelengths than infrared radiation.

Radiological protection
The science and practice of limiting the harm to human beings from radiation.

An unstable nuclide that emits ionising radiation.

Author of “Skills, Rules & Knowledge: Signals, signs & symbols, and other distinctions in human performance models� which identified three important types of behaviour: skill-based behaviour, knowledge-based behaviour and rule-based behaviour.

Ratio Decidendi
The reasoning in a particular case which was essential to reaching the decision and forms the binding judicial precedent.

Raynaud`s Disease
Medical description of naturally occurring white finger resulting from exposure to cold, in this sense also referred to as Primary Raynaud`s disease. See Vibration White Finger.

Residual Current Device.

Reactive Monitoring
Activity directed towards detecting and analysing failures in an organisation`s OH&S management system.

Reactive Silencer
An expansion box for pressure waves whose size, length and cross section area, can be chosen so as to selectively attenuate at certain frequencies. The larger the area, the higher the attenuation whilst the length generally dictates the frequencies attenuated.

Reasonable Care
The common law standard of care expected by the reasonable man. It combines the processes of reasonable foresight (was the defendant`s behaviour a reasonably foreseeable cause of loss); and reasonable alternative (were there reasonable precautions open to the defendant that would have prevented the loss).

Reasonable Man
Archaic description given to a hypothetical being who is neither imprudent nor overcautious. A judge adopts this role impartially when determining whether or not the defendant has been negligent.

Reasonably Practicable
The legal standard classically defined in the case of Edwards v NCB 1949 where the quantum of risk involved is placed upon one scale and the cost of the measures necessary for averting the risk are placed upon the other. Where the costs far outweigh the risks involved it is not reasonably practicable to do more. See Practicable.

Recurrence Potential
The inherent potential of an accident to repeat itself.

Reduced Voltage Transformer
A device used to reduce mains (UK:230 volts) voltage to a lower level eg 110 volts. The earth is fixed to the centre of the 110v side giving a maximum voltage of 55v in the event of a fault occurring.

A scientific procedure which reduces the complexity of a system to simpler and more manageable components with the objective of isolating a single component to control it or eliminate all the factors except the one that influences it. The basic assumption is that the response of the component to variations in its influencing factor is representative of the component when it is in the system.

Reductionist Approach
See Reductionism.

A reliability engineering technique which involves duplicating parts in a system so that if one part fails the other is capable of maintaining the integrity of the system on its own.

Reference Group
A group to which an individual does not belong but nevertheless has attributes, facilities and conditions which an individual finds desirable. The individual makes reference to these things in the process of setting demands and aspirations.

Referent Power
The ability to influence the behaviour of people because one has characteristics that are desirable and that they should follow. Sometimes known as charisma.

A statutory device approved by Parliament made under a general provision in an Act of Parliament, sometimes called delegated or subordinate legislation. Regulations often identify specific risks and set out specific action that must be taken. Regulations often contain absolute legal standards not qualified by the term reasonably practicable. See European Regulation and Statutory Instrument.

A necessary component in the learning process which rewards required behaviour (positive reinforcement) or punishes inappropriate behaviour (negative reinforcement).

Relative Humidity
The ratio of the vapour pressure existing to the saturated vapour pressure for the same dry bulb temperature.

Relativistic Risk Assessment
An assessment which ranks a risk in relation to other risks.

The probability that an item will perform a required function under stated conditions for a stated period of time. (See Human Reliability).

Reliability Data
Data used to define the sustained performance achieved by components in a system, or an entire system, and their propensity to break down.

Reportable Disease
A disease specified in schedule 3 of the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.

Representative of Employee Safety
A person elected to represent fellow employees for the purposes of consultation with the employer in matters of health and safety. Statutory provisions are housed in the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations. See Safety Representative.

Res Ipsa Loquitur
‘The thing speaks for itself` â€` a legal phrase applied in circumstances where there can be no other explanation for the occurrence of an event other than the defendant`s negligence.

Residual Current Device
This is an electro-mechanical protective system, it provides physical isolation of the live and neutral conductors when a sensor detects a different current flowing along the neutral compared with the live.

Resistance (R)
The ‘frictional` opposition to a flow of electric current measured in ohm's.

Respirable Dust
Dust of less than 10 microns which is capable of penetrating deep into the alveoli, (source BSEN 481). See Total Inhalable Dust and Thoracic Dust.