There are many confusing acronyms and terms in the world of Health and Safety, so we’ve created this handy Health and Safety glossary to help you navigate your way through them all. We hope you find it useful.
‘Association of British Certification Bodies’
‘The Association of Building Engineers’
‘Association of Consultant Architects’
An unwanted, unplanned event resulting in injury, damage to health or property and even death.
Something you definitely don’t want to happen.
‘The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens’
‘Association for Consultancy and Engineering’
‘Asbestos Containing Materials’
‘Approved Code of Practice’
‘The Advisory Committee on Pesticides’
An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word.
Like BBC, ITV or FFS. You’ll see a lot of them in this list.
‘Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances’
Substance dispersed into the air such that the droplets or particles remain in suspension for a significant period of time.
‘As low as reasonably practical’. Describes the level to which workplace risks are expected to be controlled.
A substance that can cause an allergic reaction in the body, particularly in people sensitive to it.
Think grass pollen and peanuts. Symptoms can be mild or very serious indeed.
The surroundings, usually attached to exterior temperature.
In other words, how hot or cold it is outside.
‘Association for Project Safety’
‘Asbestos Removal Contractors Association’
The name used for a group of fibrous silicate minerals used extensively in the middle of the last century. If inhaled, it can have adverse effects on health and lead to fatal lung diseases such as Asbestosis.
Asbestos Management Plan
A requirement placed on people responsible for non-domestic premises built before 1999. Provides information on the ACMs to be found on the premises and how the risks from disturbing them is to be managed.
The damage and scarring of lung tissue caused by breathing asbestos fibers, resulting in a shortness of breath.
Used to locate and identify ACMs on premises. Either Management (non-destructive) or Refurbishment and Demolition Type (required prior to all construction works on pre-1999 premises)
‘The Association for Specialist Fire Protection’
An official inspection of your health and safety policies carried out by qualified auditors. The aim of an audit is to confirm that adequate measures have been put in place to cover the risks and ensure that these measures are being adhered to.
If you’re reading this, then you’re in the right place.
A type of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) which needs a supply of breathing quality air from an independent source (e.g. air cylinder or air compressor)
‘British Approvals Service for Electrical Equipment in Flammable Atmospheres’
‘Blood Borne Viruses’
A standard of risk control that is above the legal minimum.
‘British Occupational Hygiene Society’
‘British Standards Institute’
‘Chemical Abstracts Service’
‘Cable Avoiding Tools’
Used to locate underground cables and conductors for buried services to be avoided during excavations.
‘Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations’
Construction (Design & Management) Regulations. The latest being CDM 2015.
Guidance for managing street works – barriers, signage, etc.
‘The Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme’
‘Chemical Hazards Information and Packaging’
Multiple exposures to a hazardous substance over a prolonged period.
‘Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’
‘Construction Industry Scaffold Registration Scheme’
It’s pronounced “scissors”
‘The Construction Industry Training Board’
‘Control of Lead at Work Regulations’
‘Chartered Member of the Institution for Occupational Safety & Health’
Code of Practice
A Code of Practice is seen as the accepted standard fixed by regulatory bodies or trade associations which, although not law themselves, are intended to provide guidance on how to comply with the law.
‘Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations’
Law that is not written in statute, but which has been devised through judicial precedent. A breach of common law could result in a criminal offence or a civil action for damages.
A person who has been sufficiently trained and has the appropriate skills and knowledge to perform certain health and safety tasks without posing a risk to themselves or others.
Someone who knows what they’re doing.
An enclosed area that has the potential to cause serious harm from hazardous substances or conditions within the space.
A bit of a squeeze
‘Construction Industry Advisory Committee’
A substance, usually a pollutant, which has been found where it does not usually belong.
Something that shouldn’t be there.
Actions that have been put in place to regulate and reduce the risks associated with the work being done.
‘Council for Registered Gas Installers’
Materials that can attack and chemically destroy exposed body tissues. They can also damage or even destroy metal.
‘The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’
Regulations promoting safe working with potentially hazardous material.
‘Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’
‘Construction Plant Certification Scheme’
‘Crown Prosecution Service’
‘Care Quality Commission’
‘Construction Skills Certification Scheme’
‘Corporate Social Responsibility’
Decibel. In relation to noise, the decibel is a unit used to measure the intensity of a sound.
‘Disability Discrimination Act’
‘The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’
‘Department for Education and Skills’
‘Demolition Operative Safety Awareness’. Also known as SADO
‘Dangerous Substances & Explosive Atmosphere Regulations’
Display Screen Equipment
A device that has an alphanumeric or graphic display screen, such as a computer monitor.
A computer has one, a tea bag doesn’t.
‘Exposure Action Value’. The time at which controls must be implemented to reduce exposure to vibration.
‘Exposure Limit Value’. The time which must not be exceeded for exposure to vibration
‘Electricity at Work Regulations’
‘Electrical Contractors Association’
‘Environmental Health Officer’
‘Employment Medical Advisory service’. Part of the Health and Safety Executive, offering advice on work related health issues and on people with health problems returning to work.
A plan showing the actions to be taken in the event of an emergency with the aim of evacuating all persons from dangerous environments or conditions.
Something you’re very glad to have if you need it!
The application of information about human characteristics to design. e.g. equipment, tools, work tasks, with the aim of improving safety and efficiency. The shape of the handle of a hammer is a great example.
Working methods that have the potential to damage, including forceful movements, vibration, extreme temperatures, improper lifting techniques and inappropriate workstations.
‘Fork Lift Truck’
‘Fire Risk Assessment’
‘Fees for Intervention’
If you are found to be in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the HSE to identify the breach and help you put things right.
Broken into 5 separate classes.
Class A: fires with flammable solids such as wood, plastic and paper.
Class B: fires involving flammable liquids and electrical fires.
Class C: fires involving gases.
Class D: fires involving metals such as magnesium, potassium and titanium.
Class F: fires with cooking oils and fats.
The ease with which a substance can catch fire.
A gas with a low flammability limit that can be readily ignited when mixed with air.
A liquid which can easily catch fire.
Solids that can cause fires through friction or absorption of moisture.
The minimum temperature of the vapour of a substance, when mixed with oxygen, will ignite when a flame is introduced.
‘Federation of Master Builders’
‘Fire Risk Assessment’
‘Food Standards Agency’
‘Globally Harmonised System’
The international classification and labelling of chemicals.
‘Graduate Member Institution of Occupational Safety & Health’
‘Health & Safety at Work Act’
The potential to cause harm, injury, ill-health or damage to property and the environment.
‘Health & Safety Executive’
The HSE are an independent regulator who act in the public interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across the UK.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (The HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain.
Health and Safety Representative
Someone that has been appointed by a trade union to represent their colleagues regarding health and safety in the workplace.
Observation and monitoring of early symptoms of work related ill-health in employees who may be exposed to certain health risks, such as hazardous chemicals.
A condition caused by excessive exposure to hot temperatures. Most often caused by heavy sweating in warm, poorly ventilated working environments.
A lorry mounted crane intended for loading and unloading the lorry
A severe physical response to a particular substance or environment.
‘Institution of Occupational Safety & Health’
Memberships run from Tech, Grad, Chartered and Fellow
‘The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management’
An Environmental term – the effect of a company’s interaction with the environment
A formal notice that is given by an authoritative health and safety body following a breach of law. The notice will state the committed offence, what action needs to be taken for improvement and the specified date by which it must be taken.
The process of gathering information regarding the causes of an incident, with the purpose of formulating control measures to prevent the incident from occurring again.
Incident or Near Miss
A term for those events that have not resulted in significant harm but have the potential to cause an accident, injury or damage under different circumstances.
‘The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’
‘International Powered Access Federation’
The accrediting body for training to operate MEWPS
A non-corrosive substance which, after contact, can cause inflammation on the body.
‘Independent Training Standards Scheme & Register’
The accrediting body for plant training
‘Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations’
‘Liquid Petroleum Gas’
LPG consists of commercial Butane, Propane or a mixture of the two. Major hazards are fire and explosion, though asphyxiation is also a danger in low lying areas due to LPG being heavier than air
Manual Handling Operations
Tasks that require a person to exert physical force to move a load by lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying an object.
Material Data Safety Sheet
A document that details information on potentially hazardous substances, along with guidance on how to handle them safely.
‘Maximum Exposure Limit’
A type of cancer caused by Asbestos
A document that details how a particular working process will be conducted in a safe manner.
‘Mobile Elevating Work Platform’
Such as a scissor lift or cherry picker
‘Manual Handling Operations Regulations’
‘Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations’
‘Material Safety Data Sheets’
These contain information on the hazards associated with a chemical, along with guidance on its safe use
‘Noise at Work Regulations’
‘The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health’
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
An incurable condition caused by both acute and chronic exposure to a loud noise.
‘National Plant Operators Registration Scheme’
A training accreditation body.
‘New Roads & Street Works Act’
‘National Vocational Qualification’
The relationship between a person’s health and the working activities that they undertake.
An illness that occurs in employees who have been exposed to hazards whilst at work.
The BSI Standard for Occupational Health & Safety
‘Prefabricated access suppliers and manufacturers association’
An industry recognised accrediting body for training in building mobile towers.
‘Portable Appliance Test’
‘Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan’
This is a plan to detail how mobility impaired persons can be evacuated in an emergency.
Permit to Work
Formal, written specifications for controlling risks when carrying out hazardous work. Usually for uncommon activities that require special precautions to control the hazards.
‘Personal Protective Equipment’
These are used to determine health and safety competence
The regular maintenance of work equipment on a regular basis that is sufficient to prevent unplanned failure
A role specified under CDM. This is the business or person who manages and co-ordinates the construction part of the project.
Another role specified under CDM. This is the business or person responsible for the planning phase before any construction begins.
A formal notice that is issued by an authorising health and safety body on discovery of a breach of statute that has the potential to cause an accident or injury. A Prohibition Notice commonly follows a serious accident, with the aim of preventing the hazard from developing or to put a stop to it if it is already in motion.
‘Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations’
‘Risk & Method Statements’
Site Documentation which consists of a Method Statement and associated Risk Assessments to accompany the method statements. This may also include assessments for COSHH, Noise, Vibration and Manual Handling.
‘Residual Current Device’
An electrical safety device that constantly monitors the electric current flowing through a circuit. If it senses a loss of current where electricity is being diverted to earth (as might happen if a person touches a live conductor), it rapidly shuts down the power.
‘Reporting of Injuries, Disease & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations’
An examination of the potential risks in the workplace, with the aim of assessing whether enough precautions have been put in place to prevent harm. A risk assessment focuses on the relationship between the worker, the work being carried out, the equipment being used and the conditions of the working environment.
The process of putting control measures into practice and monitoring the results, with the intention of reducing, or eliminating, the potential risks to health and safety.
‘Roll Over Protective Structure’
A system or structure intended to protect equipment operators and motorists from injuries caused by vehicle rollovers.
‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’
Routes of Entry
Ways in which hazardous substances can enter the body, including inhalation, injection, ingestion and absorption.
‘Respiratory Protective Equipment’
‘The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order’
‘Repetitive Strain Injury’
An assessment carried out by the individual to determine how safely they are working and fulfilling their health and safety duties.
‘So Far as Low as Reasonably Practicable’
Describes the level to which workplace risks are expected to be controlled.
Site Safety Evaluation
Also referred to as a site inspection – not as in depth as an audit but intended to identify hazards and to determine the level of compliance with legislation, best practice, policies and procedures.
‘Site Management Safety Training Scheme’
‘Safety Schemes in Procurement’
An umbrella organisation for accreditation schemes intended to remove the need for duplication.
‘Safe Systems of Work’
A method of working designed to eliminate, if possible, or otherwise reduce risks to health and safety
‘Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme’
‘Technician Member Institution of Occupational Safety & Health’
Substances, usually poisonous, that cause irritation and have detrimental effects on health.
‘Work Related Upper Limb Disorder