health, safety and environment has its own terms, abbreviations and acronyms. for example (HSE) is the acronym for Health Safety and Environment. let’s keep this in mind because we would use it more often.

in some cases, the terms occur in everyday speech but in HSE, some have different shades of meaning to their common usage.

I’m going to express these definitions in the simplest possible terms.


Accident: an undesired event resulting in death, injury, damage to health, damage to property or other form of loss.

carcinogen: substance that is known or suspected of causing cancer.

catalyst: a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected by the reaction.

chronic: occurring over an extended period of time.

competent person: a person who is appropriately trained, qualified, experienced and skilled to undertake specific health and safety duties without risk to their own safety or that of others.

Designated person: a person who has been designated as a first aider at work and has been trained to have the knowledge and confidence to deal with any first aid emergency.

Dose: the amount of substance to which a person is exposed in terms of the concentration of the substance and the time period during which the exposure occurs

Environment: the surrounding made up of man, plants, terrestrial and aquatic animals natural habitat etc

Hazard: anything that has potential to harm is a hazard

Health: a state of complete physical, mental and social well being

Incident or near miss: a generic term for those events that do not cause harm but which might have done so under different circumstances.

Risk: it is the probability/likelihood that a specified undesirable event will occur combined with the severity of the consequence.

Risk management: the introduction of change or control measure with the intention of eliminating or bringing the level of risk associated with a hazard within acceptable limits.

Safety: the state of being safe.

Security: the protection of people, environment and asset against attack and damage.

Toxic: substance that cause irritation or are harmful to health such as carcinogens and poison.

Toxicity: the potential for a substance to be harmful to health

Unsafe act: actions that introduce some form of hazards or have the potential to release hazards.

Acronyms of HSE

ABC: Airways, breathing and circulation (blood)

AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

CO: Carbon monoxide

CPR: Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation

CNS: Central Nervous System

EA: Environmental Agency

EHO: Environmental Health Officer

H&S: Health & Safety

HIV: Human immune virus

HSC: Health and Safety Commission

IOSH: Institution of Occupational Safety & Health

NHS: National Health Service

NDLEA: National Drug Law Enforcement Agency

NFPA: National Fire Protection Agency

NRCS: Nigeria Red Cross Society

NISP: Nigerian Institute Of Safety Professionals

UNDCP: United Nation Drug Control Policy

WHO: World Health Organisation.

Till I spill again

Safety Officer A.Jolade



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