Some Basic Occupational Health and Safety Definitions

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Before the full discussion of health and safety issues or problems can take place, some of the basic occupational health and safety definitions are required to understand.

Health

The protection of the bodies and the minds of the people from illness or the sickness resulting from the processes, materials, or the procedures used in the workplace.

Safety

The Protection of the people from the physical injury. The borderline within the health and safety is ill-defined, & the two words are typically used together to indicate or show the concern for the physical and the mental well-being of the individual/person at the workplace.

Welfare

The provision of the facilities to maintain the health and well-being of the individuals at the workplace. The Welfare facilities include the washing and the sanitation arrangements, heating, lighting, accommodation for the clothing, the provision of the drinking water, seating (when required by the work activity or for the rest), eating and the restrooms. First-aid arrangements arealso considered as the welfare facilities.

Occupational or the Work-Related ill Health

 

It is concerned with those of the illnesses or the physical and the mental disorders that are either caused/induced by the
workplace activities. Such conditions/situations may be produced/induced by the particular work activity of the individual/person or by the actions/activities of the others in the workplace.
The period between theexposure and the onset of the illness may be short/little (e.g. asthma attacks) or the prolonged (e.g.deafness or cancer).

Environmental Protection

These are the arrangements/adjustments to cover those of the activities in the workplace which affect/influence the environment(in the form of flora, water, fauna, air and the soil) and, possibly, the health and safety of the employees/workers and the others. Such activities include the waste and the effluent disposal and atmospheric pollution.

Accident

It is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as ‘ any unplanned/unwanted event that results in the injury or the ill health of people, or damage or the loss to the property, plant, materials or the environment or the loss of a business opportunity’. Other authorities define an accident more narrowly by excluding the events that do not involve the injury or the ill health.

Near Miss

A near miss is an unplanned/unintentional incident/event that could have result in an accident or caused damage, injury or the death but was close(ly) avoided. The Knowledge of the near misses is essential as the research has shown that, approximately, for every ten ‘ near miss ’ the events at a particular location in the workplace, a minor accident will occur/happen.

Dangerous Occurrence

It is a ‘ near miss ’ which could have led to the severe injury or loss of the life. Dangerous occurrences are defined/described in the Reporting of the Injuries, Diseases and the Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (often known as the RIDDOR) and are always re portable to the enforcement authorities. Examples include the collapse/destruction of the scaffold or the crane or the failure of any passenger-carrying equipment.

Hazard and Risk

A hazard is the potential of the substance, person, activity or the process to cause the harm. The Hazards take many forms including, for example, the chemicals, electricity and the working from the ladder. A hazard can be ranked relative to the other hazards or a possible level of the danger.

A risk is the likelihood of a substance, activity or the process to cause the harm. Risk can be  reduced/overcome and the hazard controlled by the excellent management.

It is essential to differentiate between the hazard and the risk – the two terms are often confused/complicated, and the activities such as the construction activities are often called high risk when they are high hazard.

Although the hazard will proceed to be high, the risks will be reduced as controls are implemented. The level of the risk remaining when the controls have been implemented is known as a residual risk.

There should only be the high residual risk, where there are the poor health and safety management and the inadequate control
measures.

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