Glossary for Occupational Health and Safety terms



The original first version of this list of terms, published in 2011, has been supervised by the staff of the Coronel Institute of Occupational Health in the Amsterdam University Medical Center, the Netherlands, and of the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology and Net Teaching Unit in Munich, LMU, Germany. This fourth, adapted version (2016) contains 129 terms and phrases relevant to Occupational Safety and Health.

The glossary has the aim to support professionals and non-professionals interested in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in work-and-health practice, research, and development of policy. We hope that the glossary will supply the need that we noticed in the education and training of students and professionals in many countries in the world.

For a number of terms, we used an explanation or definition from an already-existing source. In such cases, we mentioned the source name between brackets. In other cases, we felt the need to change the explanation slightly, or we added, for instance, one sentence, without changing the original explanation substantially. In such cases, we mentioned the source name between brackets and added ‘adapted’. Where we changed the explanation more substantially, we did not mention the source, as we take full responsibility for the new explanation. In other cases, we defined the terms fully ourselves.

The most elaborate list of terms in OSH that we know and like to recommend is the ILO-CIS dictionary (1993) with OSH terms in English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. However, we could not use this list of terms for our purpose, as the document offers translations but no descriptions or definitions.

The information is developed with the utmost care. Nevertheless, no guarantee can be made as to the correctness, suitability, fitness, or sufficiency of any information contained in the Glossary. Terms with two asterisks ( ** ) before the term need careful consideration. It is needed to consider that the Glossary represents only one interpretation of a specific term or concept and that interpretations are always bound to culture, time, and context. We strived to select, develop, and present those interpretations that have a more common global significance and that are of practical value. We do not pretend to cover each term completely and we do not have the aim to present terms for legal purposes.