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Common Industry Terms: An EHS Glossary

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The field of environmental health and safety (EHS) is filled with abbreviations, terms, and industry jargon. It can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of EHS! To truly understand the benefits, nuances, and depth of the field of EHS, you have to understand what EHS professionals are talking about.

Instead of relying on explanations from more seasoned EHS professionals–or quiet Googleing during meetings–this post will arm you with the information you need to build a foundation of EHS acumen. While this list is not exhaustive, it’s a great place to start.

APQS – Advanced Product Quality Planning

Advanced product quality planning is a framework of procedures and techniques used to develop products in an industry.

CAPA – Corrective and Preventive Action Procedure

CAPA or Corrective And Preventive Action is a methodological strategy for mitigating risks and improving processes, identifying the sources of actual or potential issues and their root causes, planning solutions for those problems, and documenting the solution so that similar issues don’t occur in the future.

CBI – Critical Business Issues​​​​​​​

Critical Business Issues are the most important items on an organization’s agenda and are directly connected to its success.

CEM – Continuous Emission Monitoring System

Continuous emission monitoring systems are used as a tool to monitor the effluent gas streams resulting from combustion in industrial processes. CEMS can measure gas for oxygen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide to provide information for combustion control in industrial settings.

COSHH – Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

The Control of Substances Hazardous To Health (COSHH) regulations were first issued in 2002 and are administered by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) of the United Kingdom. The regulations require employers to control exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace to prevent ill health.

CPQ – Cost of Product Quality

CPQ is defined as a methodology that allows an organization to determine the extent to which its resources are used for activities that prevent poor quality, that appraise the quality of the organization’s products or services, and that result from internal and external failures.

EHS&Q –  Environmental, Health, Safety, and Quality

EHS&Q is a general term used to refer to laws, rules, regulations, professions, programs, and workplace efforts to protect the health and safety of employees and the public as well as the environment from hazards associated with the workplace.

EIS – Environmental Impact Statement

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a document prepared to describe the effects of proposed activities on the environment.

EMS – Environmental Management System

An environmental management system is a system and database which integrates procedures and processes for training personnel, monitoring, summarizing, and reporting of specialized environmental performance information to internal and external stakeholders of a firm.

EPCS – Electronic Prescription of Controlled Substances
Electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) is the process of electronically transmitting prescriptions using an electronic format. Practitioners issuing electronic prescriptions for controlled substances must use a software application that meets all Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requirements.

ESA – Environmental Site Assessment
An environmental site assessment is a report prepared for a real estate holding that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The analysis, often called an ESA, typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the property.

ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance
ESG is a framework designed to be integrated into an organization’s strategy to create enterprise value by expanding the organizational objectives to include the identification, assessment, and management of sustainability-related risks and opportunities in respect to all organizational stakeholders (including but not limited to customers, suppliers and employees) and the environment

FMEA – Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a systematic, proactive method for evaluating a process to identify where and how it might fail and to assess the relative impact of different failures in order to identify the parts of the process that are most in need of change.

GHG – Greenhouse Gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.

GSA – General Services Administration (US Government Department)
The General Services Administration manages federal property and provides contracting options for government agencies.

HAP – Hazardous Air Pollutant
HAPs, also known as toxic air pollutants or air toxics, are those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects.

HIPPA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
HIPAA is a federal law that requires the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed.

 IH – Industrial Hygiene
Industrial hygiene is the science of protecting the health and safety of people in the workplace.

IHM – Industrial Hygiene Management
Completing or overseeing a variety of investigative, inspection, and consultative assignments to prevent occupational diseases and protect and improve the industrial health and work environment of the state labor force.

IM – Incident Management
Incident management (IM) is the practice of restoring services as quickly as possible after an incident.

ISO – International Organization for Standardization
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that comprises standards bodies from more than 160 countries, with one standards body representing each member country.

JHA – Job Hazard Analysis
Job hazard analysis (JHA) identifies and analyzes hazards associated with the performance of various individual job tasks to make each worker as safe as possible.

JSA – Job Safety Analysis
A Job Safety Analysis is a procedure which helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation. In a JSA, each basic step of the job is to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to do the job

MOC – Management of Change
Management of change (MOC) is a policy companies use to manage any health, safety, or environmental risks that arise when facilities, employees, or operations are updated, added, or otherwise modified.

NCM – Nonconforming materials
Non-Conforming Material means any Products that, upon delivery to Buyer, an Authorized Third Party or Buyer’s Customer fails to conform with any requirements of the Agreement.

NCM – Notice of commencement of manufacturing
The date of commencement is the date of completion of the non-exempt manufacture of the first amount (batch, drum, etc.) of a new chemical substance identified in the submitter’s PMN.

OH – Occupational Health​​​​​​​
Occupational health is an area of work in public health to promote and maintain highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations.

OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a large regulatory agency of the United States Department of Labor that originally had federal visitorial powers to inspect and examine workplaces.

PFT – Pulmonary Function Testing
Pulmonary function tests (PFT’s) are breathing tests to find out how well you move air in and out of your lungs and how well oxygen enters your bloodstream.

PII – Personally Identifiable Information
Any representation of information that permits the identity of an individual to whom the information applies to be reasonably inferred by either direct or indirect means.

PPAP – Production Part Approval Process
The Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is a standardized process in the automotive and aerospace industries that helps manufacturers and suppliers communicate and approve production designs and processes before, during, and after manufacturing.

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses.

QA – Quality Assurance
Quality assurance is the term used in both manufacturing and service industries to describe the systematic efforts taken to insure that the product delivered to the customer meets with the contractual and other agreed-upon performance, design, reliability, and maintainability expectations of that customer.

QC – Quality Control
Quality control (QC) is a process through which a business seeks to ensure that product quality is maintained or improved. Quality control requires the company to create an environment where management and employees strive for perfection.

QMS – Quality Management Solution
A quality management system (QMS) is defined as a formalized system that documents processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives. A QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities to meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis.

RCA – Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis (RCA) is the process of discovering the root causes of problems in order to identify appropriate solutions. RCA assumes that it is much more effective to systematically prevent and solve for underlying issues rather than just treating ad hoc symptoms and putting out fires.

RFT – Respirator Fit Test
A respirator fit test checks whether a respirator properly fits the face of someone who wears it. The fitting characteristic of a respirator is the ability of the mask to separate a worker’s respiratory system from ambient air.

RPN – Risk Priority Number
The RPN can be used to prioritize high-risk issues and determine the requirement for corrective action.

RSI – Repetitive Strain Injuries
A repetitive strain injury is damage to your muscles, tendons or nerves caused by repetitive motions and constant use.

SCI – Safety Culture Index
The Safety Culture Index (SCI) is a multi-category survey instrument designed to categorise individual perceptions, beliefs, experiences and behavioursconcerning safety within an organisation. Survey information is then assessed against internal and external safety culture norms.

SDS – Safety Data Sheet
A Safety Data Sheet (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheet) is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical. It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product.

SEG – Similar Exposure Group
A Similar Exposure Group (SEG) is a group of workers who have common risks and similar exposure profiles

SPC – Statistical Process Control
Statistical process control is a method of quality control which employs statistical methods to monitor and control a process. This helps to ensure that the process operates efficiently, producing more specification-conforming products with less waste.

The more you know about these common EHS terms, the better equipped you’ll feel for implementing, managing, and impacting your organization’s EHS initiatives. While there are plenty more terms to learn in the world of EHS, this list gives you a great foundation across many industries. To understand the deeper context of many of these terms, explore Cority blogs, eBooks, and customer stories.