Glossary beginning with H

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.


Harm search for term

Harm is “physical injury or damage to health”.1

Hazard search for term

A hazard is anything that by its nature has the potential to do harm. In a workplace, a hazard is any source/agent (for example, ultraviolet radiation, or infrared radiation/heat) that has the potential to harm a worker. Refer to CCOHS – Hazard and Risk. It is important to understand that hazard and risk are different, but related concepts. For a particular hazard, the risk will be determined by the amount/dose/likelihood of exposure.

Hazard assessment search for term

Hazard assessment refers to the process of evaluating a hazard, primarily in terms of risks from exposure to the hazard. Hazard assessment includes the identifying the hazard, characterizing the hazard, identifying the nature and severity of harm from the hazard, and identifying the probability that harm will result from the hazard.

Hazard identification search for term

Hazard identification is the process of finding, listing, and characterizing hazards within the workplace.1 This is the first step of a sun safety risk assessment, where the sun is the identified hazard. Different wavelengths of radiation emitted by the sun produce different adverse health effects. For example, the ultraviolet range of wavelengths is responsible for skin and eye conditions, such as sunburn and skin cancer, whereas the infrared wavelengths produce heating effects/heat stress.

Hazardous event search for term

A hazardous event is “an event that can cause harm”.1 A hazardous event can occur over a short period of time or over an extended period of time.

Hazardous situation search for term

A hazardous situation is “a circumstance in which a person is exposed to at least one hazard”.1 The exposure can result in harm immediately (acute), at some point in the future, or over a period of time (chronic).

Health and safety committee search for term

Depending on where you are in Canada, there may be legal requirements for a workplace health and safety committee. The committee typically has both employee and employer representatives on it. The committee will have varying degrees of participation in the development, implementation and monitoring of the sun safety program. Committees have different names in different jurisdictions. Also see consultation, participation and jurisdiction.

Health and safety practitioner search for term

A health and safety practitioner is a person with education, training and experience in occupational health and safety. Such a person may have many different job titles in different workplaces, for example, advisor, manager, consultant, or coordinator. There are a number of professional designations that a health and safety practitioner may possess, for example, Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), Certified Health and Safety Consultant (CHSC), Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH) or Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). The health and safety practitioner is not directly responsible for occupational health and safety, but they are in the workplace to advise, consult, educate, and promote.

Health and safety worker representative search for term

Depending on where you are in Canada, there may be legal requirements for a workplace health and safety worker representative. Usually for a workplace with fewer than 20 employees, there is no workplace health and safety committee, but there are one or more worker representatives. Worker representatives will have varying degrees of participation in the development, implementation and monitoring of the sun safety program.

Health Canada search for term

Health Canada is the day-to-day term for the federal Department of Health. Health Canada provides occupational health and safety services to the federal civil service.

Heat search for term

Heat is the transfer of energy from one body to a cooler body. Cold is the absence of heat.

Heat cramps search for term

Heat cramps are a heat-induced condition as a result of heat stress. They are caused by heavy sweating which drains the body of salt. Symptoms include painful contractions of muscle tissue (spasms) in the stomach, arms, or legs. These can occur suddenly. Treatment includes moving to cool place, loosening clothing, and stretching and massaging cramped muscles. Electrolyte replacement is required.  If the cramps do not go away, medical help should be sought. Salt tablets are not recommended. 

Heat exhaustion search for term

Heat exhaustion is a serious heat-induced condition as a result of heat stress. It is caused by fluid loss and from the body’s cooling system starting to break down. Symptoms include heavy seating; cool, moist skin; a body temperature above 38OC; weak pulse; weakness; nausea and vomiting; very thirsty; rapid panting or breathing; and blurred vision. Treatment includes moving the person to a cool shaded area, loosen or remove clothing, cool water to drink, fan and spray with cool water. It is a serious condition and medical aid is required.

Heat generating equipment search for term

Some equipment in the workplace is hot. Examples are engines, boilers, ovens, containers of tar or asphalt, etc. Heat from heat generating equipment can be transferred to an employee three ways. If an employee’s body touches the equipment, heat is transferred directly to the employee’s body by conduction. If hot air or other gas or vapor comes off the equipment and reaches the employee’s body, heat can be transferred by convection. The hot equipment also gives off infrared radiation which can heat the employee’s body. This is heat transfer by radiation. An outside worker near heat generating equipment will be experiencing heat from the sun (infrared radiation and hot air) as well as infrared radiation and hot air from the equipment.

Heat rash search for term

Heat rash is the mildest heat-induced condition as a result of heat stress. It is caused by a hot humid environment and plugged sweat glands. Symptoms include red bumpy rash with severe itching. Treatment includes avoiding hot environments and rinsing the skin with cool water. Its symptoms include a red bumpy rash with severe itching.

Heat stress search for term

Heat stress happens when your body loses its ability to self-regulate body temperature. For outdoor workers, the sun is the biggest cause of heat stress. There are three primary factors for heat stress. The first is the environment, through the air temperature, humidity, and the sun. The second is the worker through their hydration, clothing, medical conditions, and acclimatization.  The third is their work, through the amount of work done and how much effort it takes to complete the work. See also heat-induced condition.

Heat stroke search for term

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-induced condition as a result of heat stress. It can cause irreversible damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver, and even death. Symptoms include a high body temperature (over 41°C) and any of the following: weak, confused, upset, or acting strangely; hot, dry, red skin (classic heat stress); profusely sweating (exertional heat stress); fast pulse; or headache or dizziness. In later stages, a person may pass out and have convulsions. Treatment includes calling an ambulance, removing clothing, fan and spray the person with cool water and offer sips of water if the person is conscious. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and an ambulance should be called immediately.

Heat syncope search for term

Heat syncope, also known as fainting, is a heat-related health condition caused by fluid loss and inadequate water intake. Symptoms include sudden fainting after extended work, cool moist skin and a weak pulse. Medical attention is needed and the person should be assessed for CPR. If the person is conscious, offer sips of cool water.

Heat-induced condition search for term

Heat-induced conditions are the range of health conditions caused by heat stress. These conditions are (from least to most serious): heat rash, heat cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke.

Hierarchy of risk controls search for term

This provides the underlying approach to identifying and implementing control measures. Using this hierarchy, the most effective controls should be implemented first, with the less effective controls implemented in order and only considered when control of the hazard is not achieved using more effective controls. The hierarchy is (in order of most effective to least effective): eliminate the hazard; substitute other materials, process or equipment; engineering controls; systems that increase awareness of potential hazards; administrative controls; personal protection.1 It is often necessary to implement multiple controls at the same time.

Humidex search for term

The humidex is a Canadian invention and is a measure of how hot we feel. It is based on the combined effects of high temperature and humidity. For the general public, the humidex ratings are: 20-29oC = comfortable; 30-39oC = some discomfort; 40-45oC = great discomfort, avoid exertion; >45oC = dangerous, heat stroke possible. The humidex generally decreases with increasing latitude. Very high humidex values are generally rare in Canada, except for southern areas of Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec (information is based on the Environment Canada Humidex website).

Humidex-based heat response action plan search for term

A humidex based heat response plan has been published by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers. This is a simplified way of assessing heat stress risk and protecting workers. The plan translates the wet bulb globe temperature into the humidex to provide an estimate of heat stress and assigns specific response actions based on humidex values. Along with wet bulb globe temperature, it is a heat stress assessment method we recommend for use as part of a daily assessment for heat stress.

Humidity search for term

Humidity is the relative amount of water vapor in the air. The higher the humidity, the higher the level of water vapor in the air. Humidity has an important effect on the ability of sweat on an employee’s skin to evaporate and therefore cool the skin. High humidity means less evaporation of sweat and therefore less cooling from evaporation of sweat. The Humidex is an index that shows the relative level of water vapor in the air. See evaporation and Humidex.

Hydration (de-hydration) search for term

Our bodies need water to survive. Hydration refers to the amount of water that gets to our cells, tissues and organs. Our bodies need to retain a balance between water and electrolytes. If we lose water (for example, become dehydrated) systems within our body are affected and can start to function less effectively and may shut down. Symptoms of dehydration include: loss of urine or urine becoming darker, dry mouth, sleepiness, fatigue, excessive thirst, headache, confusion, and dizziness. It is important to drink plenty of water so that you don’t become dehydrated.

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