Workplace Injury Legal Glossary

Glossary of Workplace Injury Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Legal Glossaries Main Page

– A –

Accepted Claim: A claim in which the insurance company accepts that your injury or illness will be covered by workers’ compensation.

Accident Cause: The last occurrence in a sequence of events which directly contributed to or produced an accident or incident.

Accident Costs: The monetary losses associated with an accident or incident. These costs include direct and indirect costs.

Accident Investigation: A detailed, defined, and recorded review of an occurrence, done to uncover and record the factors and causes and their relationships which led up to and caused an accident or incident.

Accident: An occurrence in a sequence of events that produces unintended injury, death, or property damage. Accident refers to the event, not the result of the event

Accident Prevention: The application of measures designed to reduce accidents or accident potential within a system, organization or activity. An accident prevention program is one which aims to avoid injury to personnel and/or damage to property.

Accident Records: Recorded information in the form of reports and records detailing what accidents or incidents have occurred in a company or industry and what losses and injuries resulted.

Accident Report: A document containing the information and facts about an individual accident or incident put in chronological order to province a complete picture as to what happened. May also be used as a tool to help establish the ROOT cause.

Adjustable Suspension Scaffold: A suspension scaffold equipped with a hoist that can be operated by an employee on the scaffold.

Affidavit: A written statement or declaration whose contents are sworn to be true by the signer before a notary or some other judicial officer authorized to take oaths. A witness’s affidavit carries such weight that a judge will frequently accept it place of oral testimony in court.

Agreed Medical Evaluator (AME): This is a physician that treats you and is agreed upon by your attorney and the insurance company. The AME will be the one to conduct your medical evaluations.

Alternative Work: If your doctor says you will not be able to return to your job because of your injury, your employer is encouraged to offer you alternative work instead of your regular work duties. There are requirements to this alternative work, such as meeting your work restrictions that vary by state.

American Medical Association (AMA): National physician’s group. The AMA has published the permanent impairment guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

Ampere: The unit by which the flow of current through a conductor is measured.

Anchorage: A secure point of attachment for lifelines, lanyards or deceleration devices.

Answer: A defendant’s written response to a plaintiff’s initial court filing, called a complaint. An answer normally denies some or all facts asserted by the complaint and may sometimes include counterclaims of allegations or charges against the plaintiff. A defendant usually has 30 days to file an answer after being served with the plaintiff’s complaint.

AOE/COE (Arising out of and occurring in the course of employment): Injury caused by and happened while on the job.

Appeal: Request to a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court after final judgment or other legal ruling, citing legal reasons for overturning the ruling. No new evidence is admitted on appeal, for it is strictly a legal argument.

Appeals Board: A group of seven commissioners appointed by the governor to review and reconsider decisions of workers’ compensation administrative law judges.

Applicants’ Attorney: A lawyer that can represent the injured worker in a workers’ compensation case.

Apportionment: A way of figuring out how much of your permanent disability is due to your work injury and how much is due to other disabilities.

Approved: Where a procedure, practice, equipment, etc. is said to be “approved”, this means it complies with written company standards. Where no such standards exist, the applicable legislation is considered to be standard.

Audit (Safety): A management tool used to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a safety program and company operations which provides an accurate picture of the safety and health of an organization.

Authorized: Given the authority to act in the referenced manner by the responsible management.

– B –

Brace: A rigid connection that holds one scaffold member in a fixed position with respect to another member, or to a building or structure.

Bell-bottom Pier Hole: A type of shaft or footing excavation, the bottom of which is made larger than the cross section above to form a belled shape.

Benching (Benching system): A method of protecting employees from cave-ins by excavating the sides of an excavation to form one or a series of horizontal levels or steps, usually with vertical or near-vertical surfaces between levels.

Benefit Notice: A required letter or form sent to you by the insurance company to inform you of benefits you may be entitled to receive.

Biological Hazard: A hazard that pertains to life organisms, including such things as viruses and toxic materials that living things produce. Eg: animals and bacteria in drinking water.

Body Belt: A strap with means both for securing it about the waist and for attaching it to a lanyard, lifeline, or deceleration device.

Body Harness: Straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner that will distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest, and shoulders, with means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system.

– C –

Carve-out: Carve-out programs allow employers and unions to create their own alternatives for workers’ compensation benefit delivery and dispute resolution under a collective bargaining agreement.

Cases without Lost Workdays: Cases that do not involve lost workdays but result in medical treatment other than first aid, restriction of work or motion, loss of consciousness, transfer to another job, or diagnosis of occupational illness.

Cave-in: The separation of a mass of soil or rock material from the side of an excavation, or the loss of soil from under a trench shield or support system, and its sudden movement into the excavation, either by falling or sliding, in sufficient quantity so that it could entrap, bury, or otherwise injure and immobilize a person.

Certified: Equipment is “certified” if it (a) has been tested and found by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to meet nationally recognized standards or to be safe for use in a specified manner, or (b) is of a kind whose production is periodically inspected by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, and (c) it bears a label, tag, or other record of certification.

Chemical Hazard: A nonliving hazard that results from substances, including solids, liquids or vapors that could potentially interact. Some chemicals can damage the human body if people inhale, ingest or absorb them. Eg: chemicals are lead, alcohol and hydrocarbons.

Circuit: The path along which electric current flows from start to finish is called a circuit. The circuit includes the generator or battery which starts the current, the wires, and any electrical device that the current operates. If any part of the circuit is removed, the current cannot flow. The circuit is then broken or open. Because electric current seeks to complete its circuit, it will travel along any path that is presented (path of least resistance), which is why humans are at risk of electrocution when they handle damaged tools or cords, or contact un-insulated wires. In effect, they become part of the circuit.

Circuit Breaker: A protective device which automatically opens, or trips, a circuit, without damage to itself, when the current exceeds a predetermined level.

Claim Form: The form used to report a work injury or illness to your employer. The form is filed out and turned in at your place of business.

Claims Administrator: The term for insurance companies and others that handle your workers’ compensation claim. Most claims administrators work for insurance companies or third party administrators handling claims for employers. Some claims administrators work directly for large employers that handle their own claims.

Claim: A demand for money or relief.

Class Action: A type of lawsuit filed by one or more plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and a larger group of people “who are similarly situated.” While allowing one judge to hear all the cases at the same time, the resulting decision is binding on all parties. Cleat: A structural block used at the end of a platform to prevent the platform from slipping off its supports. Cleats are also used to provide footing on sloped surfaces such as crawling boards.

Closing Statement: The final argument in a trial by an attorney on behalf of his/her client after all evidence has been produced for both sides.

Cold Work: Low-risk work in a non-restricted area (outside a 50 meter radius of a live surface facility).

Commutation: An order by a workers’ compensation judge for a lump sum payment for all or part of your permanent disability award.

Company Rules: An internally developed set of standards regarding company policies and requirements for safety and general conduct.

Company Worker or Person: This is a person whose knowledge, training and experience qualified him or her to perform the work properly and safely.

Competent Person: One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate such hazards.

Conductor: A substance or body that allows a current of electricity to pass continuously along it. Metals, such as copper or aluminum, are good conductors. In a circuit, current-carrying wires are termed “conductors”, as in a flexible cord.

Confined Space: Any space which has restricted access; egress where hazardous, gases vapors, dusts, or fumes may accumulate; or where oxygen may be deficient.

Connector: A device that is used to couple (connect) parts of the personal fall arrest system and positioning device systems together. It may be an independent component of the system, such as a carabiner, or it may be an integral component of part of the system, such as a buckle or D-ring sewn into a body belt or body harness, or a snaphook spliced or sewn to a lanyard or self-retracting lanyard.

Consultant: A professional individual or firm hired by a company solely to give professional advice with respect to the planning of specified tasks.

Controlled Access Zone (CAZ): An area in which certain work (e.g., overhand bricklaying) may take place without guardrail systems, personal fall arrest systems, or safety net systems, and access to the zone is controlled.

Construction Work: Work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating.

Critical Work: Any work that falls in the medium or higher risk area of the Risk Assessment Matrix. Work that may be considered critical include:

  • critical lift in a non-restricted area
  • tasks done during major turnarounds that affect other workers
  • maintenance work in an area where toxic-gas amounts are likely to exceed occupational exposure limits
  • welding in a hydrocarbon production facility
  • confined space entry

Cross Braces: The horizontal members of a shoring system installed perpendicular to the sides of the excavation, the ends of which bear against either uprights or wales.

Cross Braces: Two braces which cross each other in the form of an X.

Cross Examination: The opportunity for the attorney for one party to ask questions in court of a witness who has testified in a trial on behalf of the opposing party.

Cumulative Injury: An injury that was caused by repeated events at work.

Current: The flow of electrons through a conductor, measured in amperes (amps). If the current flows back and forth through a conductor, it is called alternating current (AC). If the current flows in one direction only, as in a car battery, it is called direct current (DC). AC is most widely used because it is possible to increase (“step up”) or decrease (“step down”) the current through a transformer. For example, when current from an overhead power line is run through a pole-mounted transformer, it can be stepped down to normal household current. Also, alternating current can travel enormous distances with little loss of voltage, or power.

Cycle: When alternating current flows back and forth through a conductor, it is said to cycle. In each cycle, the electrons flow first in one direction, then the other. In the United States, the normal rate for power transmission is 60 cycles per second, or 60 Hertz (Hz).

– D –

Dangerous Goods: The term used in TDG regulations to describe hazardous materials.

Date of Injury: If your injury was caused by one event, the date it happened is the date of injury. If the injury or illness was caused by repeated events, the date of injury is the date you knew, or should have known, the injury was caused by work.

Death Benefits: Benefits paid to surviving dependents when a work injury results in death.

Deceleration Device: Any mechanism, such as a rope grab, rip-stitch lanyard, specially-woven lanyard, tearing or deforming lanyard, automatic self-retracting lifeline/lanyard, etc., which serves to dissipate a substantial amount of energy during a fall arrest, or otherwise limit the energy imposed on an employee during fall arrest.

Deceleration Distance: The additional vertical distance a falling employee travels, excluding lifeline elongation and free fall distance, before stopping, from the point at which the deceleration device begins to operate. It is measured as the distance between the location of an employee’s body belt or body harness attachment point at the moment of activation (at the onset of fall arrest forces) of the deceleration device during a fall, and the location of that attachment point after the employee comes to a full stop.

De-energize: To free from any electric connection and/or electric charge.

Defect: Any characteristic or condition which tends to weaken or reduce the strength of the tool, object, or structure of which it is a part.

Defendant: The party, usually an employer or its insurance company, opposing you in a dispute over benefits.

Delay Letter: A letter sent to you by the insurance company explaining why payments are delayed.

Denied Claim: A claim in which the insurance company does not believe that your injury or illness was work related and therefore denies your claim.

Disability: A physical or mental impairment that limits everyday activities.

Disability Management: A process to prevent disability from occurring or to intervene early and encourage and support continued employment. Disability rating: See permanent disability rating.

Discrimination Claim: A petition filed if your employer has fired or discriminated against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Dispute: A disagreement about your right to payments, services or other benefits.

De Bene Esse: Of formal sufficiency for the time being; conditionally; provisionally.

Deposition: Sworn testimony taken under oath prior to trial before a court reporter in a place away from the courtroom.

Direct Examination: The first questioning of a witness during a trial or deposition.

Direct Supervision: Where the supervising worker is present at the jobsite and fully cognizant and in control of the activities of the less experienced workers.

Disabling Injury: An injury causing death, permanent disability, or any degree of temporary total disability beyond the day of the injury.

Disaster: Any real or anticipated occurrence which endangers the lies, safety, welfare and well-being of some or all of the people and cannot be brought under control by the use of all regular Municipal Government services and resources.

Due Diligence: The level of judgment, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.

– E –

Electricity: The flow of an atom’s electrons through a conductor.

Electrode: A conductor used to establish electrical contact with a nonmetallic part of a circuit.

Emergency Planning: The act of putting together an overall plan and developing it for response to emergency situations involving workers and equipment (eg: logical sequence of events).

Emergency: An abnormal situation, which to limit damage to persons, property or the environment requires prompt action beyond normal procedures.

Employee: A person whose work activities are under the control of an individual or entity.

Employer: The person or entity whose has control over your work activities.

Energize: To direct electric current through a conductor. Power lines and wires can be intentionally energized (or de-energized) to carry current to an electrical device. But conductive surfaces which are unintentionally energized, like the metal case of a tool, the metal housing of a circuit box, or a metal object such as an aluminum ladder, present a danger of electrocution.

Equivalent: Alternative designs, materials, or methods to protect against a hazard which the employer can demonstrate will provide an equal or greater degree of safety for employees than the methods, materials or designs specified in the standard.

Ergonomics: The study of how to improve the fit between the physical demands of the workplace and the employees who perform the work. Selecting, designing and modifying equipment, tools, and the work environment are all considered.

Essential Functions: Duties considered crucial to the job you want or have.

Employer: Means any person who employs one or more workers, or a person who is self employed in an occupation.

Excavation: Any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface, formed by earth removal.

Experience Rating: A process administered by the WCB usually based on a three year time period, premiums paid and compensation rates.

Experience: Statistical data recording of a company’s accidents or incidents over a specific time period usually expressed in terms of frequency and severity.

Expert Witness: A person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his or her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit.

– F –

Faces: The vertical or inclined earth surfaces formed as a result of excavation work.

Failure: The breakage, displacement, or permanent deformation of a structural member or connection so as to reduce its structural integrity and its supportive capabilities.

Fabricated Frame Scaffold:A scaffold consisting of platforms supported on fabricated end frames with integral posts, horizontal bearers, and intermediate members.

Failure: Load refusal, breakage, or separation of component parts. Load refusal is the point where the ultimate strength is exceeded.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): A federal law that provides certain employees with serious health problems or those who need to care for a child or other family member with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that group health benefits be maintained

Fatal Accident: is an accident that results in one or more deaths within one year.

Fault: An insulation failure that exposes electrified conductors, causing current to leak and possibly resulting in electric shock.

Free Fall: The act of falling before a personal fall arrest system begins to apply force to arrest the fall.

Free Fall Distance: The vertical displacement between onset of the fall and just before the fall arrest system begins to apply force to arrest the fall. This distance excludes deceleration distance, and lifeline/lanyard elongation, but includes any deceleration device slide distance or self-retracting lifeline/lanyard extension before they operate and fall arrest forces occur.

Filing: Sending or delivering a document to an employer or a government agency as part of a legal process. The date of filing is the date the document is received.

Final Order: A decision or award made by a workers’ compensation judge.

Findings & Award: A written decision by a judge about a case. This decision is final unless an appeal is filed.

Fraud: Any knowingly false statement made for the purpose of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.

Formwork: The total system of support for freshly placed or partially cured concrete, including the mold or sheeting (form) that is in contact with the concrete as well as all supporting members including shores, re-shores, hardware, braces, and related hardware.

Fuse: A protective device which allows a piece of metal to become part of a circuit. The metal melts under heat created by excessive current, thereby interrupting the circuit and preventing the flow of electricity from exceeding the circuit’s current-carrying capacity.

Future Medical: On-going right to medical treatment for a work-related injury

Follow-Up: The term used to indicate an action (usually corrective action) that is supposed to take place after some kind of occurrence and based on an accident or incident report.

– G –

GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter): A device that detects an insulation failure by comparing the amount of current flowing to electrical equipment with the amount of current returning from the equipment. Whenever the difference is greater than 5 milliamps, the GFCI trips and thereby interrupts the flow of electricity.

Ground: A conducting connection, intentional or unintentional, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth, or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth.

Ground-Fault: A fault, or insulation failure, in the wire used to create a path to ground.

Grounding: To prevent the buildup of hazardous voltages in a circuit by creating a low-resistance path to earth or some other ground plane.

Guarding: Placement of live parts of electrical equipment where they cannot accidentally be contacted, such as in a vault, behind a shield, or on a raised platform, to which only qualified persons have access.

Guardrail System: A barrier erected to prevent employees from falling to lower levels.

– H –

Hazardous Atmosphere: An atmosphere which by reason of being explosive, flammable, poisonous, corrosive, oxidizing, irritating, oxygen deficient, toxic, or otherwise harmful, may cause death, illness, or injury.

Hazardous Substance: A substance which, by reason of being explosive, flammable, poisonous, corrosive, oxidizing, irritating, or otherwise harmful, is likely to cause death or injury.

Hole: A gap or void 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more in its least dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking/working surface.

Hoist: A manual or power-operated mechanical device to raise or lower a suspended scaffold.

Home: A dwelling and its premises within the property lines including single-family dwellings and apartment houses, duplex dwellings, boarding and rooming houses, and seasonal cottages. Excluded from Home are barracks, dormitories, and resident institutions.

Hot Work: Use of open flames, other heat sources and/or spark producing devices in areas where combustible materials may be or do exist. Where there is potential for explosion or fire.

– I –

In Pro Per: One who is not represented by an attorney.

Independent Contractor: Some employers classify employees as an independent contractors to avoid workers’ compensation. If your employer controls the manner of your work, has the right to terminate you, pays you an hourly wage or salary, requires you to work a specific schedule and makes deductions for Social Security or unemployment, then you are likely NOT an independent contractor.

Impairment Rating: A percentage estimate of how much normal use of your injured body parts that you have lost. Impairment ratings are based on guidelines published by the AMA.

Impedance: Opposition to the flow of alternating (AC) electric current. See Resistance.

Incidence rate: Defined by OSHA, is the number of occupational injuries and/or illnesses or lost workdays per 100 full-time employees.

Incident/Near Miss: An undesirable event which has the potential to cause a serious accident.

Indirect Cause: A factor or occurrence which has taken place and contributes to an accident but is not a direct cause.

Infeasible: Impossible to perform the construction work using a conventional fall protection system (i.e., guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system) or technologically impossible to use any one of these systems to provide fall protection.

Injury: Physical harm or damage to the body resulting from an exchange, usually acute, of mechanical, chemical, thermal, or other environmental energy that exceeds the body’s tolerance.

Inspection: An systematic examination of a worksite or equipment which, in the process, is compared against an established standard.

Insulation: Non-conductive materials used to cover or surround a conductor, permitting it to be handled without danger of electric shock.

Insulator: Any material, such as glass or rubber, that prevents the flow of electric current.

Interrogatories: A set of written questions to a party to a lawsuit asked by the opposing party as part of the pre-trial discovery process. These questions must be answered, normally with help from one’s attorney, in writing under oath under penalty of perjury within a specified period of time, such as 30 days.

– J –

Jacking Operation: The task of lifting a slab (or group of slabs vertically from one location to another (e.g., from the casting location to a temporary (parked) location, or to its final location in the structure), during the construction of a building/structure where the lift-slab process is being used.

Joint and Several Liability: Liability in which each defendant is responsible for the entire amount of the judgment. Often the court will allow the plaintiff to collect from whichever defendant can most easily pay, letting that defendant demand contributions from the other defendants.

Judgment: The final decision by a court in a lawsuit or appeal from a lower court’s judgment.

Judgment Non Obstante Veredicto (JNOV) = Judgment Notwithstanding The Verdict: Reversal of a jury’s verdict by the trial judge when the judge believes there was no factual basis for the verdict or it was contrary to law. The judge will then enter a different verdict as “a matter of law”, to prevent injustice.

Jurisdiction: The authority given by law to a court to try cases and rule over acts committed in a defined territory, over certain types of cases, or over certain groups of persons.

– K –

Kilowatt: One thousand watts.

– L –

Label: Any mark, sign, device, stamp, seal, ticket, tag or wrapper which provides information on the contents.

Lawsuit: A common term for a legal action by one person or entity against another person or entity, to be decided in a court of law.

Ladder stand: A mobile, fixed-size, self-supporting ladder consisting of a wide flat tread ladder in the form of stairs.

Landing: A platform at the end of a flight of stairs.

Lanyard: A flexible line of rope, wire rope, or strap which generally has a connector at each end for connecting the body belt or body harness to a deceleration device, lifeline, or anchorage.

Leading Edge: The edge of a floor, roof, or formwork for a floor or other walking/working surface (such as the deck) which changes location as additional floor, roof, decking, or formwork sections are placed, formed, or constructed. A leading edge is considered to be an “unprotected side and edge” during periods when it is not actively and continuously under construction.

Lifeline: A component consisting of a flexible line connected vertically to an anchorage at one end (vertical lifeline), or connected horizontally to anchorages at both ends (horizontal lifeline), and which serves as a means for connecting other components of a personal fall arrest system to the anchorage.

Lien: A right or claim for payment against a workers’ compensation case.

Lift Slab: A method of concrete construction in which floor and roof slabs are cast on or at ground level and lifted into position using jacks.

Limited access zone: An area alongside a masonry wall that is under construction and clearly demarcated to limit access by employees.

Lockout: To lock a switch in the “off” position by means of a padlock, or to lock electrified equipment behind a locked door, to which only qualified persons have the key.

Low-Impedance: Low resistance to A/C current.

Lower Levels: Those areas or surfaces to which an employee can fall. Such areas or surfaces include, but are not limited to, ground levels, floors, platforms, ramps, runways, excavations, pits, tanks, material, water, equipment, structures, or portions thereof.

Low-Slope Roof: A roof having a slope less than or equal to 4 to 12 (vertical to horizontal).

Lock Out Procedure: Written procedure dictating the manner in which the positive locking out of equipment or machinery is to be done.

Lock Out: A positive method for disconnecting power or making something inoperative by using a physical lock to eliminate movement or operation.

Loss Control: A system or program designed to minimize accidents and reduce financial losses.

Loss Prevention: A before-the-loss program designed to identify and correct potential causes of accidents before they result in actual injuries or financial loss.

Lost Workdays: Those days on which, because of occupational injury or illness, the employee was away from work or limited to restricted work activity.

– M –

Man Hours: An industrial time unit relating to the number of hours worked per employee and often multiplied by the number of employees to establish the amount of time spent on a task or used in projections of costs.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): A bulletin detailing technical and hazard during the handling, storage and use, protective measures for workers and emergency procedures.

Maximum intended load: The total load of all persons, equipment, tools, materials, transmitted loads, and other loads reasonably anticipated to be applied to a scaffold or scaffold component at any one time.

Maximal medical improvement (MMI): Once it is unlikely that your condition will change or improve with or without further medical treatment, an MMI is determined. Once you reach MMI, a doctor can assess a permanent disability rating.

Medical-legal report: A report written by a doctor that describes your medical condition. These reports are written to help clarify disputed medical issues.

Medical treatment: Treatment required to cure or relieve the effects of an injury or illness.

Milliampere: A unit of measurement equaling one thousandth (1/1000) of an ampere.

Modified work: Your old job is changed to allow you to continue doing it with your current injury.

– N –

Negligence: Failure to exercise the care toward others which would reasonably be expected of a person in the circumstances, or taking action which a reasonable person would not.

– O –

Occupational Health and Safety Act: The Government department in Alberta that administers the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations made under that Act.

Occupational illness: Any abnormal condition or disorder, other than one resulting from an occupational injury, caused by exposure to environmental factors associated with employment. It includes acute and chronic illnesses or diseases that may be caused by inhalation, absorption, ingestion, or direct contact.

Occupational injury: Any such injury such as a cut, fracture, sprain, amputation, etc., which results from a work accident or from a single instantaneous exposure in the work environment.

Ohm: The unit by which resistance to electrical current is measured. From Ohm’s Law (Current=Voltage/Resistance, or in other words, Current=Voltage/Ohms), a mathematical expression of the relationship between these three elements.

Opening statement: The factual presentation given by an attorney at the beginning of a case. The defendant’s attorney has the option of delaying his opening statement for the defense until the plaintiff’s evidence has been introduced.

Opening: A gap or void 30 inches (76 cm) or more high and 18 inches (48 cm) or more wide, in a wall or partition, through which employees can fall to a lower level.

Open sides and ends: The edges of a platform that are more than 14 inches (36 cm) away horizontally from a sturdy, continuous, vertical surface (such as a building wall) or a sturdy, continuous horizontal surface (such as a floor), or a point of access. Exception: For plastering and lathing operations the horizontal threshold distance is 18 inches (46 cm).

Operating Work Site: The specific location of a work activity where work is not limited to office activities. Eg.: drilling sites, maintenance shops and laboratories.

Overcurrent: Any current in excess of the rated capacity of equipment or of a conductor.

Overhand bricklaying: The process of laying bricks and masonry units such that the surface of the wall to be jointed is on the opposite side of the wall from the mason, requiring the mason to lean over the wall to complete the work. Related work includes mason tending and electrical installation incorporated into the brick wall during the overhand bricklaying process.

– P –

Party: Generally includes anyone who has an interest in your claim (i.e. the insurance company, your employer, attorney, etc.)

Penalty: An amount of money you receive because something wasn’t done correctly in your claim.

Permanent and stationary (P&S): Your medical condition has reached maximum medical improvement. Once you are P&S, a doctor can assess how much, if any, permanent disability resulted from your work injury.

Permanent disability: Any lasting disability that results in a reduced earning capacity after maximum medical improvement is reached.

Permanent disability advance: A voluntary lump sum payment of permanent disability you are entitled to in the future.

Permanent disability benefits: Payments you receive when your work injury permanently limits the kinds of work you can do or your ability to earn a living.

Permanent disability payments: A mandatory bi-weekly payment based on the portion of permanent disability received before and/or after an award is issued.

Permanent disability rating: A percentage that estimates how much a job injury permanently limits the kinds of work you can do. It is based on your medical condition, date of injury, age when injured, occupation when injured, how much of the disability is caused by your job, and your diminished future earning capacity. It determines the number of weeks you are entitled to permanent disability benefits.

Permanent partial disability benefits: Payments you receive when your work injury partially limits the kinds of work you can do or your ability to earn a living.

Permanent total disability benefits: Payments you receive when you are considered permanently unable to earn a living.

Personal fall arrest system: A system used to stop an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of these. As of January 1, 1998, using a body belt for fall arrest is prohibited.

Petition for reconsideration: A legal process to appeal a decision issued by a judge.

Phase: In AC power systems, load current is drawn from a voltage source which typically takes the form of a sine wave. Ideally, the current drawn by the loads in the system is also a sine wave. With a simple, resistive load such as a light bulb, the current sine wave is always aligned with the voltage sine wave. This is called single-phase. A single-phase power system normally uses three wires, called hot, neutral, and ground, and the voltage is typically 120/240. Most home and office outlets operate in this manner. With some loads, such as motors, and in high voltage systems, the current sine wave is purposely delayed and lags behind the voltage sine wave. The amount of this lag is expressed in degrees and is called a phase difference. A common example is three-phase power, where the system has three “hot” wires, each 120 degrees out of phase with each other.

Physical Hazard: A hazard that is neither biological nor chemical but that exists around us, or because of the things we do. Eg.: weather and personal work habits.

Platform: A work surface elevated above lower levels. Platforms can be constructed using individual wood planks, fabricated planks, fabricated decks, and fabricated platforms.

Plug: A device to which the conductors of a cord are attached, which is used to connect to the conductors permanently attached to a receptacle.

Positioning device system: A body belt or body harness system rigged to allow an employee to be supported on an elevated vertical surface, such as a wall, and work with both hands free while leaning.

Protective system: A method of protecting employees from cave-ins, from material that could fall or roll from an excavation face or into an excavation, or from the collapse of adjacent structures. Protective systems include support systems, sloping and benching systems, shield systems, and other systems that provide the necessary protection.

Pre-cast concrete: Concrete members (such as walls, panels, slabs, columns, and beams) which have been formed, cast, and cured before final placement in a structure.

Pre-designated physician: A physician that can treat your work injury if you advised your employer in writing, before the injury occurred. You can pre-designate your personal doctor or a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.).

Plaintiff: The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court against the defendant(s).

Polarity: The relationship between poles of positive and negative charge, particularly with regard to wiring of conductors where the ungrounded (hot) conductor and grounded (neutral) conductor form a circuit.

Potential Incident: A condition (such as an unidentified hazard), or an event (such as a near miss), or sequence of events that does not have actual consequences, but that could, under slightly different circumstances, have unwanted consequences.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment): Protective wearing apparel, when used properly, designed to reduce or eliminate injuries to a worker.

PPM (Parts Per Million): Parts Per Million, a term often used to describe the intensity of a contaminant in an area. Often used in relation to H2S and other gases. Preponderance of the evidence: The greater weight of evidence that persuades a judge or jury to lean to one side as opposed to the other during the course of litigation. In civil trials, evidence is required only by preponderance, not beyond a reasonable doubt. The side with the most persuasive or impressive evidence wins the case.

– Q –

Qualified: Someone who has completed specialized training acknowledging them as an individual with specialized skills in a certain area.

– R –

Raceway: A channel designed expressly for holding wires, cables, or busbars, including conduit, tubing, wireways, busways, gutters, or moldings.

Rating: The stated operating limit of a piece of equipment, expressed in a unit of measure such as volts or watts.

Rated load: The manufacturer’s specified maximum load to be lifted by a hoist or to be applied to a scaffold or scaffold component.

Rebuttal: Evidence introduced to counter, disprove or contradict the opposition’s evidence or claim, or responsive legal argument.

Receptacle: A device, such as a jack or an outlet, to which conductors are attached, and where a plug makes contact with a source of electric current.

Reconsideration of a summary rating: A process used when you don’t have an attorney and you think mistakes were made in your permanent disability rating.

Registered Professional Engineer: A person who is registered as a professional engineer in the state where the work is to be performed. However, a professional engineer, registered in any state is deemed to be a “registered professional engineer” within the meaning of this standard when approving designs for “manufactured protective systems” or “tabulated data” to be used in interstate commerce.

Regular work: Your old job, paying the same wages and benefits as paid at the time of an injury and located within a reasonable commuting distance of where you lived at the time of your injury.

Regulations: A rule, ordinance, law or device, by which conduct or performance is controlled.

Resistance: Anything that impedes the flow of electricity, particularly in direct (DC) current. Resistance is measured in ohms.

Re-shoring: The construction operation in which shoring equipment (also called reshores or re-shoring equipment) is placed, as the original forms and shores are removed, to support partially cured concrete and construction loads.

Restricted Area: A location that’s within 50 meters of a live surface facility that might release hydrocarbons.

Risk Assessment Matrix: A tool used to compare assessed risk, based on the probability and consequences of a potential incident.

Risk: The possibility of injury, loss or environment incident created by a hazard. The significance of the risk is determined by the probability of an unwanted incident, and the severity of its consequences.

Rollover protective structure (ROPS): Vehicle structures such as roll-bars, frames, roll-protective cabs etc., designed to prevent the vehicle operator from being crushed as a result of a rollover.

Rope grab: A deceleration device which travels on a lifeline and automatically, by friction, engages the lifeline and locks so as to arrest the fall of an employee. A rope grab usually employs the principle of inertial locking, cam/level locking, or both.

Roof: The exterior surface on the top of a building. This does not include floors or form work which, because a building has not been completed, temporarily become the top surface of a building.

Roofing work: The hoisting, storage, application, and removal of roofing materials and equipment, including related insulation, sheet metal, and vapor barrier work, but not including the construction of the roof deck.

– S –

Safety Committee: A group comprised of employees, which has been formed to address safety and health issues at a worksite or multiple worksites.

Safety Factor: The ratio of the ultimate breaking strength of a member or piece of material or equipment to the actual working stress or safe load when in use.

Safety-monitoring system: A safety system in which a competent person is responsible for recognizing and warning employees of fall hazards.

Safety Inspection: The act of examining both worksites and equipment, and comparing them against previously established standards specifically to determine if safety legislation and the company safety policies are being followed (looking for unsafe acts and conditions).

Safe Work Agreement: A tool that helps workers understand the specific work to be done and the hazards they might encounter on the job. It’s also an agreement on how hazards will be managed, who’ll manage them and what personal-protective equipment will be required.

Safe Work Permit: Issued as a written record by which a person in charge of a unit, equipment, building area, authorizes a worker and/or work crew to do a specific job at that work site. It identifies what precautions (safe work practices) were taken and/or will be taken to ensure that the working conditions are safe for the type of work to be performed, in a specific job location, during a specific time interval. It outlines the safety equipment required and to be used for that specific job location.

Safe Work Practices: Procedure for carrying out specific tasks, which, when followed, will ensure that workers’ exposure to hazardous situations, substances, and physical agents is controlled by the manner in which the work is carried out.

Scaffold: Any temporary elevated platform (supported or suspended) and its supporting structure (including points of anchorage), used for supporting employees or materials or both.

Seatbelt: A device, usually worn around the waist, consisting of a strap or straps anchored to a vehicle so as to hold a person in his seat.

Self-retracting lifeline/lanyard: A deceleration device containing a drum-wound line which can be slowly extracted from, or retracted onto, the drum under slight tension during normal employee movement, and which, after onset of a fall, automatically locks the drum and arrests the fall.

Serious and willful misconduct: A petition filed if your injury is caused by the serious and willful misconduct of your employer.

Setoff: A claim by a defendant in a lawsuit that the plaintiff owes the defendant money which should therefore be subtracted from the amount of damages claimed by plaintiff.

Settlement: The resolution of a lawsuit or legal dispute prior to a final court judgment. Most settlement are achieved by negotiation in which the attorneys and the parties agree to terms of settlement. In practice, most lawsuits result in settlement.

Shield (Shield system): A structure that is able to withstand the forces imposed on it by a cave-in and thereby protect employees within the structure. Shields can be permanent structures or can be designed to be portable and moved along as work progresses. Additionally, shields can be either pre-manufactured or job-built in accordance with 1926.652(c)(3) or (c)(4). Shields used in trenches are usually referred to as “trench boxes” or “trench shields.”

Shore: A supporting member that resists a compressive force imposed by a load; or the operation by which a supporting member is placed.

Significant Potential Incident: An incident without actual consequences where the coordinates of probability and potential consequence meet in the higher or medium risk area of the Risk Assessment Matrix.

Site Supervisor: An employee or contractor assigned by the company to supervise a potential job.

Sloping (Sloping system): A method of protecting employees from cave-ins by excavating to form sides of an excavation that are inclined away from the excavation so as to prevent cave-ins. The angle of incline required to prevent a cave-in varies with differences in such factors as the soil type, environmental conditions of exposure, and application of surcharge loads.

Snaphook: A connector comprised of a hook-shaped member with a normally closed keeper, or similar arrangement, which may be opened to permit the hook to receive an object and, when released, automatically closes to retain the object. Snaphooks are generally one of two types: The locking type with a self-closing, self-locking keeper which remains closed and locked until unlocked and pressed open for connection or disconnection; or the non-locking type with a self-closing keeper which remains closed until pressed open for connection or disconnection. As of January 1, 1998, the use of a non-locking snaphook as part of personal fall arrest systems and positioning device systems is prohibited.

Spoil: The dirt, rocks, and other materials removed from an excavation and either temporarily or permanently put aside.

Stable rock: Natural solid mineral material that can be excavated with vertical sides and will remain intact while exposed. Unstable rock is considered to be stable when the rock material on the side or sides of the excavation is secured against caving-in or movement by rock bolts or by another protective system that has been designed by a registered professional engineer.

Stair tower (Scaffold stairway/tower): A tower comprised of scaffold components and which contains internal stairway units and rest platforms. These towers are used to provide access to scaffold platforms and other elevated points such as floors and roofs.

Steep roof: A roof having a slope greater than 4 in 12 (vertical to horizontal).

Stilts: A pair of poles or similar supports with raised footrests, used to permit walking above the ground or working surface.

Specific injury: An injury caused by one event at work.

Source of injury: Principal object such as tool, machine, or equipment involved in the accident and is usually the object inflicting injury or property damage.

Spiral Ferrel: A re-usable device attached to the tail chain end of a winch line to prevent the tail chain from sliding off of the winch cable.

Standard (Limited Definition): An accepted specification of something to which sites or employees must conform unless a deviation from the standard is documented and approved.

Statute of limitations: A law which sets the maximum period after which the right to file a lawsuit expires, depending on the type of case or claim. In some instances a statute of limitations can be extended based on delay in discovery of injury.

Stipulated rating: Formal agreement on your permanent disability rating. Must be approved by a workers’ compensation judge.

Stipulation with award: A settlement of a case where the parties agree on the terms of an award. This is the document the judge signs to make the award final.

Stipulations with request for award: A settlement in which the parties agree on the terms of an award. Payment takes place over time.

Subjective factors: The amount of pain and other symptoms described by an injured worker that a doctor reports as contributing to a worker’s permanent disability. Subjective factors are generally not given as much weight as objective factors.

Subpoena: A document that requires a witness to appear at a hearing.

Strict liability: Automatic responsibility for damages due to ownership or use of equipment, materials or possessions which are inherently dangerous.

Subcontractor: Any person, firm or corporation, contracting with the contractor, to perform part of the work and includes partners and associates in a joint venture so contracting with the contractor.

Suitable: That which fits, and has the qualities or qualifications to meet a given purpose, occasion, condition, function, or circumstance.

Summary rating: The percentage of permanent disability.

Supervisor: A supervisor person of the contractor, at the site.

– T –

Tabulated data: Tables and charts approved by a registered professional engineer and used to design and construct a protective system

Tag: To identify electric equipment by class, group and the temperature range for which it is approved.

Tag Out: A method of identifying and alerting persons to the fact that specific circuits or equipment have been de-energized or put out of service and should not be touched or have their positions changed.

TDG – Transportation of Dangerous Good: Regulations established to cover transporting hazardous materials.

Temporary disability: Payments received if you lose wages because your injury prevents you from doing your usual job while recovering.

Temporary partial disability benefits: Payments you receive if you can do some work while recovering, but you will earn less in wages.

Temporary total disability benefits: Payments you get if you cannot work at all while recovering physician.

Trial: The examination of facts and law presided over by a judge with authority to hear the matter.

Toeboard: A low protective barrier that will prevent the fall of materials and equipment to lower levels and provide protection from falls for personnel.

Trench (Trench excavation): A narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made below the surface of the ground. In general, the depth is greater than the width, but the width of a trench (measured at the bottom) is not greater than 15 feet (4.6 m).

– U –

Unintentional injury: Preferred term for accidental injury in the public health community. It refers to the result of an accident.

Unprotected sides and edges: Any side or edge (except at entrances to points of access) of a walking/working surface, e.g., floor, roof, ramp, or runway where there is no wall or guardrail system at least 39 inches (1.0 m) high.

Uprights: The vertical members of a trench shoring system placed in contact with the earth and usually positioned so that individual members do not contact each other.

Unsafe Act: The actions of a person in a manner which vary from the accepted or legislated safe practice and create a hazard to either themselves, another person, or equipment.

Unsafe Condition: A condition in which something exists that varies from a normal accepted safe condition and, if not corrected, could cause injury, death, or property damage.

Unstable objects: Items whose strength, configuration, or lack of stability may allow them to become dislocated and shift and therefore may not properly support the loads imposed on them. Unstable objects do not constitute a safe base support for scaffolds, platforms, or employees. Examples include, but are not limited to, barrels, boxes, loose bricks, and concrete blocks.

Utilization review: The process used by insurance companies to decide whether to authorize and pay for treatment recommended by your treating physician or another doctor.

– V –

Verdict: The decision of a jury, which must be accepted by the trial judge to be final. A judgment by a judge sitting without a jury is not a verdict.

Vertical slip forms: Forms that are jacked vertically during the placement of concrete.

Visitor: Any person temporarily on the worksite who is not regularly involved in the daily worksite activities. This includes, but is not limited to, delivery personnel, invited guest, the general public, etc.

Vocational rehabilitation: If you are permanently unable to do your usual job, and your employer does not offer other work, you may qualify for this benefit. It may include job placement counseling, retraining and a vocational rehabilitation maintenance allowance.

Vocational and return to work counselor: If you have a permanent disability, this is the person that will help you develop a strategy for returning to work. This person will evaluate you and provide necessary counseling.

Voir dire: The questioning of prospective jurors by a judge and attorneys in court to determine if there is cause not to allow a juror to serve; or questions asked to determine the competence of an alleged expert witness; or any hearing outside the presence of the jury held during trial.

Volt: The unit by which electrical force or pressure is measured.

Voltage: The fundamental force or pressure that causes electricity to flow through a conductor

– W –

Wales: Horizontal members of a shoring system placed parallel to the excavation face whose sides bear against the vertical members of the shoring system or earth.

Walking/working surface: Any surface, whether horizontal or vertical, on which an employee walks or works, including, but not limited to, floors, roofs, ramps, bridges, runways, formwork, and concrete reinforcing steel, but not including ladders, vehicles, or trailers, on which employees must be located in order to perform their job duties.

Walkway: A portion of a scaffold platform used only for access and not as a work level.

Warning line system: A barrier erected on a roof to warn employees that they are approaching an unprotected roof side or edge, and which designates an area in which roofing work may take place without the use of guardrail, body belt, or safety net systems to protect employees in the area.

Watt: The unit by which electric energy, or the ability of electricity to do work, is measured.

WHMIS – Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System: A system (sometimes called right to know legislation), to protect workers from exposure to hazardous material.

Work: The total construction and the performance of related services required by the contract documents as signed between the contractor and company.

Workers: Persons gainfully employed, including owners, managers, other paid employees, the self-employed, and unpaid family workers.

Work hours: Total number of hours worked by all employees. They are usually compiled for various levels, such as, an establishment, a company, or an industry. A work hour is the equivalent of one employee working one hour.

Work injuries: Those injuries that arise out of and in the course of gainful employment regardless of where the accident or exposure occurs. Excluded are work injuries to private household workers and injuries occurring in connection with farm chores that are classified as home injuries.

Work Site: Means any location where a worker is engaged in any occupation and includes any vehicles or mobile equipment used by the worker in an occupation.

– Z –

Zero Energy: The state of a piece of equipment when all sources of energy (i.e., electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, etc.) is isolated from the particular piece of equipment, or effectively blocked and all sources of stored energy are depleted.