Administrative controls

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A red no symbol over a hand reaching towards a bolt of electricity symbol
This electrical hazard safety sign used in Germany is an example of an administrative control.

Administrative controls are training, procedure, policy, or shift designs that lessen the threat of a hazard to an individual.[1] Administrative controls typically change the behavior of people (e.g., factory workers) rather than removing the actual hazard or providing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Administrative controls are fourth in larger hierarchy of hazard controls, which ranks the effectiveness and efficiency of hazard controls.[2] Administrative controls are more effective than PPE because they involve some manner of prior planning and avoidance, whereas PPE only serves only as a final barrier between the hazard and worker. Administrative controls are second lowest because they require workers or employers to actively think or comply with regulations and do not offer permanent solutions to problems.[3] Generally, administrative controls are cheaper to begin, but they may become more expensive over time as higher failure rates and the need for constant training or re-certification eclipse the initial investments of the three more desirable hazard controls in the hierarchy.[4] The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends administrative controls when hazards cannot be removed or changed, and engineering controls are not practical.[5]

Some common examples of administrative controls include work practice controls such as prohibiting mouth pipetting and rotating worker shifts in coal mines to prevent hearing loss.[5][6][7] Other examples include hours of service regulations for commercial vehicle operators,[8] Safety signage for hazards,[9] and regular maintenance of equipment. [10]


  1. ^ "Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology" (PDF). U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. March 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Hierarchy of Controls". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. CDC. July 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Hierarchy of Controls" (PDF). U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. November 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b "NIOSH Chemical Carcinogen Policy" (PDF). U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. December 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Administrative Controls". U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  7. ^ Bauer, ER; Babich. "Administrative controls for reducing worker noise exposures".
  8. ^ "Administrative Controls". Interactive Learning Paradigms Incorporated. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Control Measures" (PDF). Environmental Health and Safety – Bloomington Indiana University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-15. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Hazard Control". Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.