Definitions A to Z

Acute Exposure
: a single short exposure or a few short exposures to a relatively large concentration of a chemical.

Administrative Controls: To change the way people work.

Aerosols: A suspension of tiny particles or droplets in the air.

Airborne: Transmission occurs through droplets or aerosols. The organism gets into the air and is breathed in by another person.

Anteroom: a small, separate barrier room at the entrance to the work area, with doors at each end.

Apex: Variously means the tip, point, vertex, summit, climax, peak.In relation to COVID-19, apex can be used to refer to the highest number of cases in a state or country, after which the rate of infection begins to slow.

Assessment: A process of gathering, analyzing and documenting; evaluation.

Assigned Protection Factor (APF): the workplace level of respiratory protection that a respirator or class of respirators is expected to provide to employees when the employer implements a continuing, effective respiratory protection program.

Autoclave: a strong, heated container used for chemical reactions and other processes using high pressure temperatures.

Bioaerosols: Airborne particles that are living or that originate from living organisms.

Biocontainment: the physical containment of highly pathogenic organisms.

Biological Agent: Bacteria, viruses, fungi or other microorganisms that can negatively affect human health. Effects can range from mild allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, even death.

Biosafety: The discipline addressing the safe handling and containment of infectious microorganisms and hazardous biological materials.

Bloodborne: Bloodborne pathogens are encountered via contact with an infected person’s blood or other bodily fluids.

Category A Priority Pathogens: Organisms/Biological agents that pose the highest risk to national security and public health.

Category B Priority Pathogens: The second-highest priority organisms/biological agents.

Category C Priority Pathogens: The third-highest priority, including emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination in the future.

Chronic Exposure: a repeated exposure to a chemical that occurs over months/years.

Colonization: When an organism successfully enters the body, grows and multiplies.

Conjunctivae: the mucous membranes that cover the front of the eye and line the inside of the eyelids.

Contraindicated: not recommended or not appropriate.

Coronavirus: Any of various RNA-containing spherical viruses of the family Coronaviridae, including several that cause acute respiratory illnesses. Types of coronavirus are COVID-19, SARS, MERS Sometimes referred to as the Novel coronavirus (nCoV) because it is a new (novel) virus

COVID-19: A highly infectious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. The disease was discovered in China in December 2019 and has since spread around the world.

COVID Toes: An informal name for reddish sores on the toes and sometimes fingers, considered a possible symptom of COVID-19, especially in younger, asymptomatic patients.

Decontamination: the process of removing contaminants (infectious agents) that have accumulated on people who have worked in a contaminated or likely contaminated environment.

Direct Contact: A susceptible person physically contacts an infected person and transfers the organism (by kissing, sexual contact, or touching open wounds/sores).

Disseminate: spread widely.

Disinfection: a process that eliminates more or all infectious organisms from objects and surfaces.

Doff: remove

Don: put on

Elimination: to physically remove the hazard.

Engineering Controls: To isolate people from the hazard.

Epidemiology: the branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.

Exposure: Contact with a chemical, physical, radiological and/or biological agent.

Germicidal: something that kills germs

Hazards: any source of potential damage or adverse health effects on a group of workers.

Heat Exhaustion: the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating.

Heat Rash: mildest form of Heat Stress. It is caused by heavy sweating where sweat cannot easily be removed by skin evaporation.

Heat Stress: a potential physical hazard on an infectious disease worksite and can occur without warning.

Heat Stroke: most serious form of heat stress. It results from the body’s inability to regulate its temperature. It can be fatal if not recognized and treated immediately.Hemorrhagic: characterized by profuse bleeding.

Hierarchy of Controls: Identifies options based upon effectiveness, from the most effective to the least effective.

HMR: Hazardous Materials Regulation

Immunocompromised: inability to develop a normal immune response because of disease, malnutrition or immunosuppressive therapy.

Incubation Period: the time between exposure to an infection and when symptoms appear.

Indirect Contact: Transmission occurs when an individual touches a contaminated surface and then becomes infected by touching his or her mouth, eyes or nose.

Ingested: enters through the mouth.

Inhalation: breathing in a contaminant or organism.

Mucous Membrane: membrane that lines the body cavities and canals that lead to the outsid (ie: eyes, mouth, inside the nose). The membranes function is to stop pathogens and dirt from entering the body and to prevent bodily tissues from becoming dehydrated.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID): an organization that supports research to understand, treat and ultimately prevent infectious diseases.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): The federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury.

Non-contact Vehicle Transmission: Occurs when an infection spreads from a contaminated source to the individual. Often the contaminate is ingested.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for enforcing national safety and health standards.

OPIM: other potentially infectious material

Pandemic: widespread across the whole country or the world.

Parenteral: taken or administered in a manner other than through the digestive tract (ie: through intravenous or intramuscular injection).

Pathogen: Bacteria, virus or other microorganism that can cause disease.

Pathogenicity: Refers to the ability of an organism to cause disease.

Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL): Exposure guidelines set by OSHA for airborne concentrations of regulated substances that set limits upon a worker’s inhalation exposure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): includes gloves, protective clothing, hard hats, safety glasses, safety footwear and respirators.

PPM: Parts per million

Prophylaxis: prevention of disease.

Psychosocial Hazards: affect the workers emotional or psychological well-being. These hazards may relate to the way work is conducted and managed, the nature of the work, or social context. These hazards are often linked to workplace stress, absenteeism, difficulties at home and even workplace violence.

Pulmonary Function Test (PFT): a diagnostic test that is used in conjunction with a medical exam to determine physical fitness of the respirators wearer’s upper body systems, including lung and heart functions.

Respirator: a piece of protective equipment that is designed to protect you from exposures through inhalation.

Risks: The chance or probability that a person will be harmed or experience an adverse health effect if exposed to a hazard at work.

RMW: Regulated medical waste

Routes of Transmission: The different ways diseases are spread

SDS: Safety Data Sheet LD

Substitution: To replace a hazard

Toxin: poison

U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC): A federal agency of the U.S. Government that provides facilities and services to investigate, identify, prevent and control disease.

Vector-borne: Carried by another species; “vector” usually refers to an insect and transmission occurs via a bite from the vector.

Non-Contact Vehicle Transmission: An infection spreads from a single contaminated source to multiple hosts. This can be either a point source or a common source.

Virulence: how harmful an organism is.