By Scott Conboy 3 comments

Safety 101: Glossary of Workplace Safety Terms


Ambient – The immediate surrounding of something.

Audit - An organized and unbiased inspection that will determine a company’s compliance with the regulations and best practices


Best Practice - commercial or professional measures that are accepted or prescribed as being the most effective.

Biological Agents - A living creature made from a living organism that can be used either beneficially or malevolently


Compliance - The process of fulfilling requirements

Common Law - Source of law that is not stated in the decree but which has been incurred through judicial precedence. A breach of this common law can result in a criminal offence.


DB – Decibel

DDA - Disability Discrimination Act


ELV - Exposure Limit Value – the time in which must not exceed for exposure to vibration

Ergonomics - The use of information about human characteristics to design applications with the intention of further improving safety and efficiency


Fatigue - The reduced ability to work efficiently due to previous strenuous activity

First aid treatment- treatment given to any worker who suffered from any injury or illness while doing a certain activity. This is usually minor in nature until further medical aid is provided.​


Goods - Defined as any piece such as materials, equipment, chemicals, fixtures, or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Hazard - Anything with the potential to induce danger, physical damage, infection, or death

Hazardous Building Materials – Potentially hazardous materials for construction, e.g. asbestos, PCBs, SMFs and lead paint

Health and safety committee - A cooperative team for employers and employees to work together on different OHS issues

Hot work- Any spark-producing operation which involves open flame, abrasive grinding and cutting, welding, etc.


Incident - Any event that could have led to an injury. Incidents include near misses, accidents, and/or physical damages

Injury - Physical or psychological damage

Inspection - A formal check of actual site conditions existing within a defined time and location in contrast to pre-customary criteria


Lead indicator - Any measure taken of actions implemented in the present that is intended to influence the future e.g. training, providing trolleys/stepladders etc.

Lead Paint - Lead is added to paint to accelerate drying, increase durability, and repels corrosion. It is one of the main health and environmental hazards accompanied with paint.


Maintenance and repair - Activity reflected as necessary to make sure that existing facilities will endure to function at a satisfactory level

Manual handling - Any movement requiring the use or force wielded to push, lift, pull, carry or move a certain object, person or animal

Medical treatment - Is defined as curing by a legitimate medical practitioner. ‘Treatment’ does not contain diagnostic testing or first aid even if provided by a medical practitioner.​

Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD)​ - Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.). Common MSD’s include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Ligament Sprain, Mechanical Back Syndrome, etc.

Material Safety Data Sheets “MSDS” – Contains reliable facts on the possible danger associated with a chemical, along with assistance on its safe use


NAWR - Noise at Work Regulations

NEBOSH - National Examination Board of Occupational Safety and Health

Negligence - The omission of doing any act that a person would do when guided by those concerns that regulate the conduct of human affairs.


OHS - Occupational Health and Safety.​

OHS procedures - Specific protocols that make up the Department’s OHS Management System (OHSMS). 


Personal protective equipment​ - Items and apparels intended to offer workers protection from hazards. Examples of PPE may include protective clothing, shoes, gloves, masks and breathing apparatus.

Plant - Under the OHS Act 2004, plant includes any machine, equipment, or appliance; including components and anything fitted or connected to any of those things.


Regulation - mandatory requirements that aim to prevent or reduce injury. Regulations themselves are approved by parliament and are generally absolute legal standards.

Residual risk rating – The degree of risk remaining after risk controls have been acknowledged and employed

Risk - The likelihood of any danger or harm arising from contact to any hazards and the result of that harm.

Risk Assessment - A formal estimation of the possibility that a person may suffer injury due to identified risks

Risk control - Describes the execution of an activity that eradicates, prevents, reduces or mitigates the harm from the potential contact to a threat


Safety Culture - A term for the point to which the culture of an institution stimulates and cooperates with safe and healthy work practices

Safe work procedure - A step-by-step documented process of safely performing a certain job or procedure of an item or equipment

Safety Data Sheet (SDS) - A document prepared by the importer, manufacturer, or vendor of a hazardous item, substance or chemicals. The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety provisions for, storing, handling and transferring chemicals. Information contained in this document shall be in English Language

Solvent - Substance that have the capability of dissolving another substance

Synthetic Mineral Fibers (SMFs) - Synthetic mineral fibers are fibrous inorganic materials produced primarily from rock, clay, slag, or glass. These fibers are classified into 3 general groups: fiberglass, mineral wool, and refractory ceramic fibers (RCF).


Toxic - Materials that could induce irritation to the human body and otherwise harmful to health, such as carcinogens or poisons


Upper explosive limit - Highest degree of a gas or a vapor in air capable of generating a spark of fire in occurrence of an ignition source


Vapor - The smoky form of a material that is normally liquid or solid at room temperature

Volatility - A degree of the tendency of a liquid to transform into a vapor form in a specified temperature. 


Workplace - A room located within a building or structure, where employees or self-employed persons work

Workplace Exposure Limit - Established concentration or limits of a substance that can be present in the workplace, excess amount of exposure will result in adverse effects to exposed workers

WRULD - Work Related Upper Limb Disorder; include problems with the soft tissues, muscles, tendons and ligaments, along with the circulatory and nerve supply to the limb.