Safety Acronyms

Health and Safety Acronyms (HSA’s)

As we all know, acronyms are shorter forms of words or phrases that are useful when you need to repeat the same word or phrase a number of times throughout the same piece of writing. Or maybe to make you look smarter or more important when they are printed on your name on your business card? They have become common place in the world of social media but can be misinterpreted eg the Mother who recently texted her son to say “Your Aunty just died, LOL” – she thought LOL meant “Lots Of Love”.

Apart from in the IT industry, the safety world seems to have more three-letter acronyms (TLA’s) than any other. I hear new ones every day, they roll easily off the tongue and those in the game spit them out assuming we all know what they mean. But, most of us are too proud to admit our ignorance and slink off to google it on the iphone. As a lad we took great delight in making up our own derogatory meanings for any acronym we didn’t understand. Then there was our under performing Safety Health Improvement Team (took ages for the boss to wake up to that one). I’ve taken to always asking what a TLA means – its amazing how many people using them don’t even know!

I couldn’t find any web page or resource devoted to Safety Acronyms so I decided to start one and hope it helps – PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTRIBUTE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.

More Safety Jargon, Safety Acronym and Safety Talk Articles and Resources which may cause you to rethink your discourse:


  • Weasel Words in Safety – by George Robotham
  • They’re Only Words….Aren’t They? – by Rob Sams
  • Jargon Killed the Astronauts – by Phil LaDuke
  • WHS Harmonisation Jargon – by The Safety Nerd
  • OHS and WHS ACRONYMS – Our list of safety acronyms and their meaning (well some of them)
  • The Crazy Words of Health and Safety – by Mark Taylor
  • The Workers Compensation Discourse – by James Ellis
  • How Can I Get The Boss To Listen – by Sheri Suckling
  • Your Safety Talk Matters – by Rob Long
  • Jargon-less Safety Talk

    Here are a few Safety Acronyms to get the ball rolling and hopefully the list will grow over time:

    1. AART – Apply Advanced Resuscitation Techniques
    2. AFARP – As far as reasonably practical
    3. ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable
    4. ALARP – As Low As Reasonably Practicable
    5. ASSE – American Society of Safety Engineers
    6. BBS – Behavioural Based Safety
    7. COP – Code of Practice
    8. CBT – Competency Based Training
    9. CIAED – Course In Automated External Defibrillation
    10. DGHS – Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Substances
    11. DIFR – Disabling Injury Frequency Rate
    12. DoL – Department of Labour NZ
    13. EHSR – Elected Health and Safety Representative
    14. ELCB – Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker
    15. EMP – Emergency Management Plan
    16. ERT – Emergency Response Team
    17. FAI – First Aid Incident
    18. FIFR – Fatal Injury Frequency Rate
    19. HAZOP – Hazard and Operability
    20. HFA – Hazard Factor Assessment
    21. HIRA – Hazard Identification Risk Assessment
    22. HSE – Health & Safety Executive UK
    23. HSR – Health and Safety Representative
    24. HSSE – Health, Safety, Security & Environment
    25. ISHR – Industry Safety & Health Representative
    26. JSA – Job Safety Analysis (risk assessment before starting work)
    27. JSEA – as for JSA but includes Environmental risks
    28. L2RA – Level Two Risk Assessment
    29. LOTO – lock out tag out
    30. LTFR – Lost Time Frequency Rate
    31. LTI – Lost Time Injury
    32. MSDS – Material Safety Data Sheet
    33. MTI – Medically Treated Incident
    34. NLTPHRW – National Licence To Perform High Risk Work
    35. NMI – Near Miss Incident
    36. NSCA – National Safety Council of Australia
    37. NSFW – Not Safe For Work
    38. OFA – Occupational First Aid
    39. OHS – Occupational Health and Safety
    40. OHSC– Occupational Health and Safety Committee
    41. OSHA – Occupational Safety & Health Administration
    42. OHSMS – Occupational Health and Safety Management System
    43. PCBU – Person conducting a business or undertaking
    44. PHMP – Principal Hazard Management Plan – defined term in Qld coal mining legislation. A Principal Hazard is one capable of causing multiple fatalities. No coal mine in Qld can start without a PHMP for all PHs relevant to its operations.
    45. PHP – Personal Hearing Protection
    46. POCL – Pre Operation Check List
    47. PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
    48. PTW – Permit to Work
    49. RA – Risk Assessment
    50. RACE – Rescue, Activate alarm, Confine the fire, Evacuate/Extinguish
    51. RCA – Root Cause Analysis
    52. RCD – Residual Current Device
    53. SFA – Senior First Aid
    54. SHE – Safety Health and Environment
    55. SHIT – Special High Intensity Training, Safety & Health Improvement Team
    56. SHMP – Safety & Health Management Plan (action plan to implement the SHMS)
    57. SHMS – Safety & Health Management System
    58. SIA – Safety Institute of Australia
    59. SIFR – Serious Injury Frequency Rate
    60. SINA – Safety Is No Accident
    61. SIT – Safety Improvement Team
    62. SMP – Safety management Plan
    63. SOP – Standard Operating Procedure (defined in Queensland mining legislation)
    64. SSOP Safe Standard Operating Procedure
    65. SSHR – Site Safety & Health Representative
    66. SWI – Safe (or Standard) Work Instruction – short summary of the SOP, usually one page, listing risks and risk controls.
    67. SWL – Safe Working Load
    68. SWMS – safe work method statement
    69. SWP – Safe Work Procedures, Safe Work Platform
    70. TRI – Total Recordable Injuries, Total Reportable Injuries
    71. TRIFR – Total Reportable Injury Frequency Rate
    72. VRDs – Voltage Reduction Devices
    73. W@H – Work at Heights
    74. WAH – Work at Heights
    75. WHS – Workplace Health and Safety
    76. WHSO – Workplace Health and Safety Officer
    77. WICS – Work In Confined Space
    78. WMS – Work Method Statement
Barry Spud

Barry Spud

Safety Crusader, Zero Harm Zealot, Compliance Controller and Global Pandemic Expert at Everything Safety
Barry Spud
What is a Safety Spud? Lets look at a few more spud head activities in risk and safety: 1. Coming on to site saying there is a safety issue when in fact there’s no such thing, it’s a political issue. 2. ‘Falling apart’ when people make choices that we think are stupid because they won’t do as we ‘tell’ them. Then we put on the angry face and think that overpowering others creates ownership. 3. Putting on the zero harm face, presenting statistics, knowing it has nothing to do with culture, risk or safety. 4. Putting on the superman (hazardman) suit and pretending to be the saviour of everything, this is good spud head cynic stuff. 5. Thinking that everyone else is a spud head except me. 6. Thinking there’s such a thing as ‘common’ sense and using such mythology to blame and label others. 7. Accepting safety policies and processes that dehumanize others. 8. Blaming, ego-seeking, grandstanding and territory protecting behind the mask of safety. 9. Thinking that risk and safety is simple when in fact it is a wicked problem. Denying complexity and putting your spud head in the sand. 10. Continually repeating the nonsense language and discourse of risk aversion that misdirect people about risk, safety, learning and imagination.

7 Replies to “Safety Acronyms”

  1. I agree with this being confusing and silly. With all the big corporations ‘inventing’ their own in-house lists and acronyms for the same stuff only makes it more difficult to understand.
    Safety is for everyone and it should be easy as possible, yet there is a pervasive culture of elitism creeping in where it is not wanted.
    The latest additions to this ludicrosity is that the key words are not even featured within the acronym, as this example ISSMEC.
    You are now expected to remember what is to be Set, without even an initial to help you out with Procedures or Accountability!

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