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Alphabet Soup: A Guide to Health and Safety Jargon and Acronyms

workplace safety

A lot of time and work goes into creating a Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) system for your company. When first starting your plan, there is a large selection of new terminology, health and safety jargon, and acronyms that are specific to the industry that may be unfamiliar to you. It can feel overwhelming at first, but with a bit of understanding, you’ll be an expert in no time.

The importance of having a WHS system in place is to describe how a job, process, procedure, or other work is performed safely and ensure that this information is utilized for the safety and wellbeing of your employees.

Risk Analysis

All contractors and workers are required to identify risks, hazards, and assess risks while performing their job. There are four main processes needed in your WHS documentation. All of these documents apply the same risk assessment methodology and serve the same intent and purpose. Let’s go through them:

JSA: Job Safety Analysis. This assessment helps reduce risks and hazards to as low a level as possible. To do this, you analyze the step-by-step processes of a task or job and identify risks that can be mitigated by following the proper procedure.

JHA: Job Hazard Analysis. This analysis focuses on specific job tasks and identifies hazards before they happen. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, task, equipment, and work environment.

TRA: Task Risk Analysis. Here, you identify the risks and hazards of a task, assess the risks, and identify controls or precautions needed to avoid the risk.

JSEA: Job Safety & Environmental Assessment. The work environment is a part of your risk assessment. This assessment breaks down a process or task and identifies environmental risks. Once identified, procedures are put in place to mitigate the risk or hazard to employees and the work environment.

health and safety jargon

Work Statement

A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a legal document detailing high-risk work activities on a site with known hazards. This document aims to document dangerous activity conducted regularly as part of a job or a task.

The document also details out safety measures to significantly reduce potential accidents on the job site. There are four components to an SWMS:
● The details of the construction work considered high risk.
● The health and safety hazards relating to the job.
● The control measures to be implemented to minimize or remove risk.
● How will the control measures be actioned?

Operations Planning

Once you’ve identified risks, hazards, and detailed ways to mitigate them, you need to develop procedures for employees to follow. Within the SWMS, there are additional items needing attention. Each part describes processes and situations that need attention. Again, these sections have their own set of acronyms. Let’s take a look at them.

HEMP: Hazard and Effect Management Process and created to identify the HSE hazards and assess them for proper management.

HSE-MS: Health and Safety Management System. It is a tool to achieve the firm’s commitment to carry out its business in a way that ensures its contractors, employees, and the public are safe.

LTI: Lost Time Injury. This term refers to the loss of productive work time due to an injury sustained by an employee.

FAT: FAT stands for Fatality, and it is the term used to refer to the death of a person caused by an accident.

SWL: Safe Working Load. In some job sites, they refer to this as NWL – Normal Working Load. This term refers to the maximum safe load that a lifting machine or device can lower, suspend, or lift safely.

RTA: Road Traffic Accident.

SSSP: Site Specific Safety Plan

SOP: Safe Operational Plan

HIRA: Risk/Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

HSSP: Health and Safety Site Plan

CPR: Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation.

HAZOP: Hazard Operability

PEL: Permissible Exposure Limit. This details the exposure limit of a worker to chemical substances or physical agents like loud noise.

RIDDOR: Reporting of Injuries, Disease, and Dangerous Occurrences.

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment. These are the pieces of equipment you need to protect yourself against safety and health risks at work.

SSoW: Safe System of Work. A systematic approach to ensuring hazards or risks are minimized or eliminated.

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association

HSE: Health Safety Environment

OSHAS: Occupational Safety and Health Assessment Series

FEE: Fire Extinguisher Equipment

A reminder of some general health and safety jargon and acronyms:

WHS: Workplace Health and Safety

HSAW: Health and Safety at Work Act

SWMS: Safe Work Method Statement

PCBU: person conducting a business or undertaking

New Zealand’s health and safety rules and regulations are not simple. Even though the Health & Safety at Work Act aims to make these regulations straightforward, not every business owner has the time and expertise to make sure their workplace is 100% compliant with health and safety guidelines.

Too many businesses risk going bankrupt over fines following simple workplace accidents. These fines are easily avoided by knowing what you’re working with and having your paperwork up to date.

HasTrak has the experience and expertise to manage your SWMS and ensure that it meets Health & Safety at Work standards. We also provide training for you, your employees, and operators. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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