Glossary of Terms
Glossary Of Terms


A

Acetate
Scratch-resistant material used for faceshields/goggles that protects against chemical splash and light impact.
Action Level
Exposure level (concentration of the material in air) at which certain OSHA regulations to protect employees take effect (CFR 1910.1001-1047). e.g., workplace air analysis, employee training, medical monitoring and record keeping. Exposure at or above the action level is termed occupational exposure.
Acute Exposure
A single exposure to a hazardous agent.
ADA
Americans with Disabilities Act. A civil rights law preventing discrimination against people with disabilities. This act can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR Part 1191).
Administrative Controls
A category of hazard control that uses administrative/ management involvement in order to minimize employee exposure to the hazard. Some examples are: job enrichment, job rotation, work/rest schedules, work rates, periods of adjustment.
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
An organization of industrial hygiene professionals that develops occupational health and safety programs. ACGIH develops and publishes recommended occupational exposure limits for hundreds of chemical substances and physical agents.
ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
Private organization that provides consensus standards that many manufacturers need to comply with (some OSHA regulations require that products and procedures conform to specific ANSI standards).
APR (Air Purifying Respirator)
This is a respirator that uses either a filter or an adsorbent media (charcoal cartridge) to keep contaminated atmospheres from entering the lungs.
Arc Rating
The maximum incident energy resistance demonstrated by a material (or a layered system of materials) prior to break open, or at the onset of a second-degree skin burn. Arc rating is normally expressed in cal/cm2.
Asphyxiant
A vapour or gas that can either reduce the oxygen content in the air or interfere with the body’s ability to use oxygen. Exposure to an asphyxiant can result in unconsciousness or death due to being unable to breathe.
ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)
Technical organization which develops standards on characteristics and performance of materials, products, systems, and services.
ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value)
Expressed in cal/cm2. Also called “Arc Rating”.
Attenuation
Reduction, expressed in decibels, of the sound intensity at a first location as compared with sound intensity at a second location. We use this term to help identify how much protection that a given hearing protection device is giving.
Audiometric Testing
Tests that are conducted to determine the hearing ability of a person. These tests may be used to establish an employee’s baseline hearing, to identify any subsequent hearing loss, and to monitor the effectiveness of noise controls.

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B

Barrier Cream
A cream designed to protect the hands and other parts of the skin from exposure to harmful agents. Barrier cream is also known as protective hand cream.
Biohazard
Infectious agents presenting a potential risk to a person’s well-being.
Biological Agent
Any living organism (for example, virus or bacteria) that affects the body, a part of the body, or any of its functions. The effects may be beneficial or harmful.
Biological Monitoring
The use of medical tests to determine whether a person has been or is being exposed to a substance.
Boiling Point
The temperature at which a liquid changes to a vapor.
Bonding
The use of low-resistance material to connect two or more conductive objects that would likely undergo a build-up of static electricity. Bonding prevents the unwanted release of electrical energy, such as sparks. e.g., transferring of one flammable liquid from one container to another can release electrical energy if it is not bonded.
Breathing Zone
The area surrounding the worker’s head. The make-up of air in this area is thought to be representative of the air that is actually breathed in by the worker.
Bloodborne Pathogen
Virus or infection, such as Hepatitis B or HIV, that is present in blood and can be transmitted through blood or bodily secretions.
Body Harness
Distributes the arresting forces over the thighs, shoulders, and pelvis, and can be attached to a lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device.
Bonding
Interconnecting of two objects with clamps and bare wire. Helps prevent static sparks that could ignite flammable materials.
Bound Seam
Clean-finished chainstitch binding, which encapsulates raw edges of fabric (primarily on suits). For intermediate levels of protection.
Breakthrough Time
Time from initial chemical contact to detection.
Butyl
Synthetic rubber which provides the highest permeation resistance to gases and water vapors. Does not offer the physical strength of natural rubber.

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C

Carabiner
Self-closing, self-locking steel connector used to attach to an anchorage point.
Carcinogen
A chemical, physical or biological agent that can cause cancer in humans or animals.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A common affliction caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. Asssociated with tingling, pain or numbness in the thumb and first three fingers.
CBRN
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear.
CFM
Cubic Feet per Minute.
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations. A codification of rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. The code is divided into 50 Titles representing the broad areas subject to federal regulations.
Chemical Agent
A chemical substance that affects the body, a part of the body, or any of its functions. The effects may be beneficial or harmful.
Chronic Exposure
Repeated exposure to a hazardous agent.
Combustible Liquid
Burns at a flash point between 100°F and 200°F.
Confined Space
A space in which a hazardous gas, vapor, dust or fume may collect or in which oxygen may be used up because of the construction of the space, its location, contents, or the work activity carried out in it. It is an area which is not designed for continuous human occupancy and has limited opening for entry, exits or ventilation.
Contaminant
An unwanted material (for example, radioactive, biological or chemical) that is likely to harm the quality of the working environment. The most common workplace contaminants are chemicals that may be present in the form of dusts, fumes, gases or vapors.
Controls
Measures designed to eliminate or reduce hazards or hazardous exposures. Examples include: engineering controls, administrative controls, personal protective equipment. Hazards can be controlled at the source, along the path to the worker, or at the worker.
Corrosive
A substance that will burn the skin or eyes on contact.
CSA
Canadian Standards Association. This group is very similar to ANSI.

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D

dB (Decibel)
Unit that expresses the relative intensity of sounds on a scale of 0 (least perceptible) to 130 (pain level).
DC (Direct Current)
Electric current that travels in one direction. Usually supplied by batteries or a transformer that changes a current from AC to DC.
Degradation
Change in physical properties due to erosion from chemicals.
Dermatitis
Inflammation of the skin. Symptoms of dermatitis may include: redness, blisters, and cracks in the skin.
Dexterity
The ability to feel through gloves.
Dielectric
Material that doesn’t conduct or transfer a direct electric current.
Direct Venting
Series of holes on a goggle that allows direct air flow to the space behind the lenses. Shouldn’t be use for splash because these vents will allow fluid through.
DOT
Department of Transportation.
Dust
Fine particles of a solid that can remain suspended in air. The particle size of a dust is larger than that of a fume. Dusts are produced by mechanical action, such as grinding. Some dusts may be harmful to an employee’s health.

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E

EH
Electrical Hazard.
Electric Arc
Electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field.
Electrolytes
Essential salts and minerals contained in bodily fluids.
Emergency Plan
Detailed procedures for responding to an emergency, such as a fire or explosion, a chemical spill, or an uncontrolled release of energy. An emergency plan is necessary to keep order, and minimize the effects of the disaster.
Engineering Controls
A category of hazard control (for employee exposure) that uses physical/engineering methods to eliminate or minimize the hazard. Examples of engineering controls include: ventilation, isolation, elimination, enclosure, substitution and design of the workplace or equipment. This is the preferred method of protecting employees before resorting to personal protective equipment.
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
Federal agency with environmental protection, regulatory, and enforcement authority.
Ergonomics
An applied science that studies the interaction between people and the work environment. It focuses on matching the job to the worker.
Evaporation
The process by which a liquid, without reaching its boiling point, changes into a vapor and mixes with the air.
Explosive
A substance, mixture or compound that is capable of producing an explosion.
Exposure Level
Level or concentration of a physical or chemical hazard to which a person is exposed (most common for respiratory and noise hazards).
Exposure Records
The records kept by an employer, or company doctor or nurse of an employee’s exposure to a hazardous material or physical agent in the workplace. These records show the time, level and length of exposure for each substance or agent involved.

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F

FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
Responsible for ensuring that foods, drugs, biological products, medical devices, and cosmetics are safe, and accurately and informatively represented.
Filter Holder
Base plate that a prefilter would be placed on. Needed when not using a cartridge in conjunction with the prefilter. If using a cartridge then the cartridge will act as the “holder”.
Filter Retainer
Top piece that holds the prefilter onto a cartridge or filter holder.
Fit Test
Required by OSHA. Must be satisfactorily completed before a respirator is worn in a contaminated area. See also Qualitative or Quantitative Fit Test.
Flame Arrester
Screen found inside the spout of a safety can to prevent fire flashback to the can contents.
Flame Resistant
Made or treated to resist burning. Fabric self-extinguishes when the source of ignition is removed.
Flammable Liquid
A liquid with a flash point below 100°F, excluding gases.
Flash Point
The lowest temperature at which a liquid will give off enough vapors to form a mixture that will burn if ignited. The lower the flash point, the higher the risk of fire.
Flock Lined
Shredded fiber, usually cotton, applied to the inside surface of a glove. Helps absorb perspiration and aids in donning and doffing.
FM (Factory Mutual)
Nationally recognized testing laboratory and approved service recognized by OSHA.
Fog
Suspended droplets of a liquid that are produced by condensation or by the breaking up of a liquid.
Fume
Solid particles of extremely small size, created when solid materials vaporize under high heat and then cool. Produced from operations such as welding, smelting, and pouring molten metal.

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G

Gas
A formless substance that expands to occupy the space of its container (for example, methane, acetylene).
Gauntlet
Glove cuff 4” or more in length which gets wider towards the end.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)
Device that protects people and equipment from ground faults or sudden equipment restarts after a power failure.
Glare
Bright light that interferes with a person’s ability to see. Glare causes discomfort and can lead to eyestrain and headaches.
Grain Leather
Smooth external side of the hide. Provides durability and dexterterity.
Grounding
Electrical connection of one or more conductive objects to the earth through the use of metal grounding rods or other devices.
Guarding
Use of any device or combination of devices designed to keep any part of a worker’s body out of the danger zone of a machine during its operating cycle. This usually involves guarding the point of operation, guarding power transmission components by fixed enclosures, and/or protecting the operator and nearby workers from flying fragments.

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H

Hazard
The potential of any machine, equipment, process, material (including biological and chemical) or physical factor that may cause harm to people, or damage to property or the environment.
Hazardous Material
Any substance that may produce adverse health and/or safety effects to people or the environment.
Halogen
Light bulb which is brighter than fluorescent and krypton.
Hasp
Lockout device designed to prevent accidental equipment start-up.
Health and Safety Policy
A policy is a statement of intent, and a commitment to plan for coordinated management action. A policy should provide a clear indication of a company’s health and safety objectives. This, in turn, will provide direction for the health and safety program.
Health and Safety Program
A systematic combination of activities, procedures, and facilities designed to ensure and maintain a safe and healthy workplace.
Heat Exhaustion
Overheating of the body. Heat exhaustion can happen when the body loses too much fluid (because of excessive sweating) or when conditions, such as physical activity in a hot environment, prevent sweat from evaporating into the air.
Heat Stroke
A potentially deadly condition in which over-exposure to a very hot environment breaks down the body’s ability to control its temperature and cool itself sufficiently.
Hearing Conservation
The prevention or minimizing of noise induced deafness through the use of hearing protection devices, the control of noise through engineering methods, annual audiometric tests and employee training.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter)
At least 99.97% efficient against particulates down to a 0.3 micron diameter size. A P100 filter can be used in place of HEPA filters.
Housekeeping
A way of controlling hazards along the path between the source and the worker. Good housekeeping means having no unnecessary items in the workplace and keeping all necessary items in their proper places. It includes proper cleaning, control of dust, disposal of wastes, clean-up of spills and maintaining clear aisles, exits, and work areas.
Human Error
This term is used today to include not just workers’ errors, but engineering deficiencies and lack of adequate organizational controls which together account for the majority of accidents.
Hygiene Practices
A broad term for personal health habits that may reduce or prevent the exposure of a worker to chemical or biological substances.
Hypersensitive
The condition of being reactive to substances that normally would not affect most people.
Hypothermia
A condition in which body temperature drops below normal (36°C or 96.8°F). It most frequently develops from being exposed to very low temperatures. Hypothermia can cause death.

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I

IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health)
The maximum concentration of a chemical in the air to which one can be exposed (for up to 30 minutes) without suffering irreversible health effects when not using a respirator.
Incident
An unwanted event which, in different circumstances, could have resulted in harm to people, damage to property or loss to a process. Also known as a near miss.
Indirect Venting
Allows only air through goggles, not liquid or particles. Commonly used in chemical applications.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
The study, evaluation and control of indoor air quality related to temperature, humidity and airborne contaminants.
Industrial Hygiene
A science that deals with the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of hazards in the workplace. These hazards may cause sickness, harm to employee health, discomfort, and inefficient performance on the job. Also known as occupational hygiene.
Inhalation
The breathing in of an airborne gas, vapor, fume, mist or dust.
Injection
To force or drive liquid or gas into the body.
Injury Frequency Rate
The number of compensable injuries per 200,000 employee-hours of exposure. The following formula is used to calculate the injury frequency rate: Number of Compensable Injuries X 200,000 Hours Total Hours Worked.
Injury Severity Rate
A number that relates total days lost due to compensable injuries to the total hours worked during a specific period. The following formula is used to calculate the injury severity rate: Number of Days Lost X 200,000 Hours Total Hours Worked.
Intrinsically Safe
Product that won’t cause spark in an explosive environment.
Irritant
A substance which, in sufficient quantities, can inflame or irritate the eyes, skin or respiratory system (lungs, etc.). Symptoms include pain and reddening.
Isotonic
Buffered to the same pH balance as the human eye.

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J

Jersey
Knitted material that is extremely soft and comfortable to wear.
Job Hazard Analysis
A technique used to identify, evaluate, and control health and safety hazards linked to particular tasks. A task analysis systematically breaks tasks down into their basic components. This allows each step of the process to be thoroughly evaluated.
Job Rotation
Moving an employee to one or more related jobs during a work shift.
Joule
Unit of energy used in describing a single pulse output of a laser.

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K

Kevlar
Cut-resistant, flame retardant fiber offers heat resistance and is often used in clothing and gloves.
Knitwrist
Knitted wristband prevents glove from falling off and debris from entering. Also keeps hands warmer.

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L

Lanyard
Flexible line used to secure a body harness to a lifeline or anchorage point.
LCD
Liquid Crystal Display.
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
Electrical device used as an indicator light and in flashlights.
LEL (Lower Explosive Limit)
Minimum percent of a combustible gas that could cause an explosion if exposed to any source of ignition.
Level A Clothing
Should be worn when the highest level of respiratory, skin, and eye protection is needed.
Level B Clothing
Should be worn when the highest level of respiratory protection is needed, but a lesser level of skin protection.
Level C Clothing
Should be worn when using air purifying respirators.
Level D Clothing
Should be worn only as a work uniform and not on any site with respiratory or skin hazards.
Lifeline
Line provided for direct or indirect attachment to a worker’s body harness, lanyard, or deceleration device. Good for horizontal or vertical applications.
Localized
Restricted to one spot or area in the body and not spread throughout it.
Lockout
A specific set of procedures for ensuring that a machine, once shut down for maintenance, repair or other reason, is secured against accidental start-up or movement of any of its parts for the length of the shutdown.
Loss Control
Measures taken to prevent and reduce loss. Loss may occur through injury and illness, property damage, poor work quality, etc.
LOTO
Lockout/Tagout.

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