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Construction Glossaries and Definitions




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OSHA Construction Safety and Health Glossary

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ACGIH - American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, which develops and publishes recommended occupational exposure limits for hundreds of chemical substances and physical agents. See TLV.

Acid - Any chemical with a low pH that in water solution can burn the skin or eyes. Acids turn litmus paper red and have pH values of 0 to 6.

Action Level - Term used by OSHA and NIOSH to express the level of toxicant which requires medical surveillance, usually one half of the PEL.

Activated Charcoal - Charcoal is an amorphous form of carbon formed by burning wood, nutshells, animal bones, and other carbonaceous materials. Charcoal becomes activated by heating it with steam to 800-900oC. During this treatment, a porous, submicroscopic internal structure is formed which gives it an extensive internal surface area. Activated charcoal is commonly used as a gas or vapor adsorbent in air-purifying respirators and as a solid sorbent in air-sampling.

Acute Effect - Adverse effect on a human or animal which has severe symptoms developing rapidly and coming quickly to a crisis. Also see "chronic effect."

Adsorption - The condensation of gases, liquids, or dissolved substances on the surfaces of solids.

AIHA - American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Air - The mixture of gases that surrounds the earth; its major components are as follows - 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.03% carbon dioxide, and 0.93% argon. Water vapor (humidity) varies.

Air-Line Respirator - A respirator that is connected to a compressed breathing air source by a hose of small inside diameter. The air is delivered continuously or intermittently in a sufficient volume to meet the wearer's breathing requirements.

Air-Purifying Respirator - A respirator that uses chemicals to remove specific gases and vapors form the air or that uses a mechanical filter to remove particulate matter. An air- purifying respirator must only be used when there is sufficient oxygen to sustain life and the air contaminant level is below the concentration limits of the device.

Alkali - Any chemical with a high pH that in water solution is irritating or caustic to the skin. Strong alkalies in solution are corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes. Example - sodium hydroxide, referred to as caustic soda or lye. Alkalis turn litmus paper blue and have pH values from 8 to 14. Another term for alkali is base.

Allergy - An abnormal response of a hypersensitive person to chemical and physical stimuli. Allergic manifestations of major importance occur in about 10 percent of the population.

ANSI - The American National Standards Institute is a voluntary membership organization (run with private funding) that develops consensus standards nationally for a wide variety of devices and procedures.

Asphyxiant - A vapor or gas which can cause unconsciousness or death by suffocation (lack of oxygen). Asphyxiation is one of the principal potential hazards of working in confined spaces.

ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials.

Atmosphere-Supplying Respirator - A respirator that provides breathing air from a source independent of the surrounding atmosphere. There are two types - air-line and self-contained breathing apparatus.

Atmospheric Pressure - The pressure exerted in all directions by the atmosphere. At sea level, mean atmospheric pressure is 29.92 inches Hg, 14.7 psi, or 407 inches w.g.

Base - A compound that reacts with an acid to form a salt. It is another term for alkali.

Benign - Not malignant. A benign tumor is one which does not metastasize or invade tissue. Benign tumors may still be lethal, due to pressure on vital organs.

Biohazard - A combination of the words biological hazard. Organisms or products of organisms that present a risk to humans.

Boiling Point - The temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid equals atmospheric pressure.

Carbon Monoxide - A colorless, odorless toxic gas produced by any process that involves the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing substances. It is emitted through the exhaust of gasoline powered vehicles.

Carcinogen - A substance or agent capable of causing or producing cancer in mammals, including humans. A chemical is considered to be a carcinogen if - a) it has been evaluated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and found to be a carcinogen or potential carcinogen; or b) it is listed as a carcinogen or potential carcinogen in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) (latest edition); or c) it is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen.

CAS - Chemical Abstracts Service is an organization under the American Chemical Society. CAS abstracts and indexes chemical literature from all over the world in "Chemical Abstracts." "CAS Numbers" are used to identify specific chemicals or mixtures.

Ceiling Limit (C) - An airborne concentration of a toxic substance in the work environment, which should never be exceeded.

CERCLA - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980. Commonly known as "Superfund." (US EPA)

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations. A collection of the regulations that have been promulgated under United States Law.

Chemical Cartridge Respirator - A respirator that uses various chemical substances to purify inhaled air of certain gases and vapors. This type respirator is effective for concentrations no more than ten times the TLV of the contaminant, if the contaminant has warning properties (odor or irritation) below the TLV.

CHEMTREC - Chemical Transportation Emergency Center. Public service of the Chemical Manufacturers Association that provides immediate advice for those at the scene of hazardous materials emergencies. CHEMTREC has a 24-hour toll-free telephone number (800-424-9300) to help respond to chemical transportation emergencies.

Chronic Effect - An adverse effect on a human or animal body, with symptoms which develop slowly over a long period of time or which recur frequently. Also see "acute."

 

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