Guide to Environmental Health Safety (EHS) Acronyms

Guide to Environmental Health Safety (EHS) Acronyms

If you’ve been in the occupational safety world for 10 years or 10 days, there’s little doubt you’ve run head first into acronyms that are unfamiliar. That’s because the language of regulatory bureaucracies like Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is vast, a slow growing edifice of law generations in the making.

At HSI, we have a hard and fast rule for anything we publish—spell out the acronym. This rule stems from our personal and professional frustrations exploring the lexicon of safety; generally, we try make things easy to read. This short little guide covers some popular abbreviations you’ll encounter along your journey in professional safety. For the more experienced safety operators out there, it’s a handy refresher to share. There are, in fact, many more than we we’re willing to list here. To see more common occupational safety acronyms, read this: All the OSHA Acronyms

AIHA – American Industrial Hygiene Association

A prominent EHS industry group serving the needs of occupational and environmental health professionals.

CIH – Certified Industrial Hygienist

CSP – Certified Safety Professional

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

You may hear of a DHS Chemicals of Interest reporting need.

EHS or EH&S – Environmental Health & Safety

EMIS – Environmental Management Information System

Computer-based technologies that support environmental management systems.

EPA – Environmental Protection Agency

A federal government agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment. Regulatory and enforcement responsibilities.

EPCRA – Emergency Planning & Community Right-To-Know Act (also known as SARA Title III)

To encourage and support emergency planning efforts at the state and local levels and to provide the public and local governments with information concerning potential chemical hazards present in their communities.

EU – European Union

EU CLP – European Regulation on Classification, Labeling and Packaging (or CLP) is the new European regulation on classification, labeling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures.

This is essentially the European implementation of GHS.

From R – Reporting that is required for facilities that manufacture, process or use any EPCRA Section 313 chemical in quantities greater than the established threshold in the course of a calendar year.

GHS – Globally Harmonized System

GHS is a comprehensive approach to defining health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals; creating classification processes that use available data on chemicals for comparison with the defined hazard criteria; and communicating hazard information, as well as protective measures, on labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).

HAPS – Hazardous Air Pollutants

Emissions standards set by the United States EPA for an air pollutant that may cause an increase in fatalities or in serious illness.

HAZCOM – Hazard Communication

The OSHA mandate, 29 CFR 1910.1200, that states that companies producing and using hazardous materials must provide employees with information and training on the proper handling and use of these materials.

HMIS – Hazardous Materials Information System

A pre-GHS numerical hazard rating that incorporates the use of labels with color-coded bars as well as training materials.

NAEM – National Associate for Environmental Management

An industry trade group for environmental, health, safety and sustainability leaders.

NFPA – National Fire Protection Association

A global nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.

NSC – National Safety Council

Organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health in the United States.

OSHA – Occupational Safety & Health Administration

The governing body in the United States to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and occupational fatalities. OSHA issues regulations and enforces standards for workplace safety and health.

PE – Professional Engineer

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards and airborne particulate matter.

Prop 65 – Proposition 65

A California regulation that lists the chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

RCRA – Resource Conservation & Recovery Act

The principal Federal law in the United States governing the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste.

RTK – Right To Know

Saas – Software as a Service.

SARA 313 – Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act

Requires reporting of the Form R Report due July 1st of each year for certain facilities that must report both routine and accidental chemical releases.

ARA311/312 – Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act

Requires reporting for Tier 11 Report due by March 1st. References the Extremely Hazardous Substance List.

SDS – Safety Data Sheet

A document created for any hazardous material outlining the primary characteristics, properties, safe usage, hazard and first aid measures when using such hazardous chemical.

Tier II – Tier II reports are forms that organizations and businesses in the United States with hazardous chemicals above certain quantities, are required to fill out by the EPA. Known officially as Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms. Penalties for violations of Section 312 of SARA Title III can reach up to $27,500 for each violation.

TRI – Toxic Release Inventory

TRI tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. United States facilities in different industry sectors must report annually how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery and treatment. (A “release” of a chemical means that it is emitted to the air or water or placed in some type of land disposal.)

TSCA – Toxic Substances Control Act

United States Regulation that outlines the requirements for the introduction of new or already existing chemicals.

VPPPA – Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association

Also Known as the OSHA Star Certification – The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) is a safety and health management system that prevents workplace accidents and fatalities. VPP is for companies seeking safety and health excellence by implementing additional voluntary compliance measures that go above and beyond the requirements of the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) rules and procedures.

WHMIS – Workplace Hazard Materials Information System

Canada’s version of HazCom.

Learn more about OSHA training.

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