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Home > Occupational Healthcare > Resources > Occupational Healthcare Industry Terminology

Standard Occupational Healthcare Terminology

We have comprised a list of commonly used terms and definitions that appear in the occupational healthcare arena.  This glossary should not be considered to be all-inclusive nor is it intended to constitute legal advice.  It is especially important to consult legal counsel when making employment decisions.  


An injury or illness that happens quickly.
A one time exposure to a hazardous agent.
A vapor or gas that reduces oxygen intake to the body.
Infectious agents that present a risk or potential risk to the health of humans or other animals, either directly through infection or indirectly.
The level of the biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in a facility.
Pathogenic microorganisms present in human blood and can cause disease in humans.  These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The medical term meaning "lasting a long time.
Workplace rules on how to perform duties safely and keep the worksite safe; must be specific to the employer’s operations and posted at each job site.
An area unsuitable for humans where hazardous fumes collect or destroy the oxygen content of the air.
A substance that will burn the eyes or skin on contact.
Injury caused by repeated events or repeated exposures, such as the loss of hearing due to constant loud noise.
Use of physical or chemical means to remove, inactivate, or destroy blood borne pathogens so they are no longer capable of transmitting infectious particles and the surface or item is rendered safe for handling, use, or disposal.
The Environmental Protection Agency leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts.  Its mission is to protect human health and the environment.
An applied science that studies the interaction between workers and their work environment that focuses on matching the worker to the correct position.
Any operative occupational safety and health standard established by any agency of the United States and presently in effect, or contained in any Act of Congress in force on the date of enactment of this Act.
The branch of medical science concerned with the causes and origins of diseases.
The particular risk factor experienced by a worker considering the factors of intensity, time characteristics and duration.
Substances that pose a risk through either acute or chronic toxicity.
Any condition or practice in a workplace that could cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the hazard can be eliminated.
An event leading to injury or illness.
Recognization, evaluation and control of chronic worker exposures to harmful physical or chemical agents or conditions such as noise levels, ventilation rates, airborne contaminants, heat exposure and radiation.
Federal enforcement agency responsible for the health and safety of the nation's miners.
A change in an employee’s working conditions in order to accommodate work restrictions.
Any occupational safety and health standard or modification thereof which (1), has been adopted and promulgated by a nationally recognized standards-producing organization under procedures whereby it can be determined by the Secretary that persons interested and affected by the scope or provisions of the standard have reached substantial agreement on its adoption, (2) was formulated in a manner which afforded an opportunity for diverse views to be considered and (3) has been designated as such a standard by the Secretary, after consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies.
National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health
A standard which requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against a hazard.  General work clothes not intended to function as protection against a hazard are not considered to be personal protective equipment.
The medical precaution of avoiding contact with patients' bodily fluids by means of the wearing of nonporous articles such as medical gloves, goggles, and face shields.
Violations committed with “intentional disregard” for the law or “plain indifference” to worker safety, according to OSHA guidelines.

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