Hierarchy of hazard controls

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Infographic by NIOSH. Control methods at the top of graphic are potentially more effective and protective than those at the bottom. Following this hierarchy normally leads to the implementation of inherently safer systems, where the risk of illness or injury has been substantially reduced.[1]

Hierarchy of hazard control is a system used in industry to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] It is a widely accepted system promoted by numerous safety organizations. This concept is taught to managers in industry, to be promoted as standard practice in the workplace. Various illustrations are used to depict this system, most commonly a triangle.

The hazard controls in the hierarchy are, in order of decreasing effectiveness:

Components of the hierarchy[edit]

Elimination[edit]

Physically removing the hazard—is the most effective hazard control.[5] For example, if employees must work high above the ground, the hazard can be eliminated by moving the piece they are working on to ground level to eliminate the need to work at heights.[3]

Substitution[edit]

This pesticide contains DDT, an effective substitution would be to replace it with a green pesticide.

Substitution, the second most effective hazard control, involves replacing something that produces a hazard (similar to elimination) with something that does not produce a hazard—for example, replacing lead-based paint with titanium white. To be an effective control, the new product must not produce another hazard. Because airborne dust can be hazardous, if a product can be purchased with a larger particle size, the smaller product may effectively be substituted with the larger product.[5]

Engineering controls[edit]

The third most effective means of controlling hazards is engineered controls. These do not eliminate hazards, but rather isolate people from hazards.[3] Capital costs of engineered controls tend to be higher than less effective controls in the hierarchy, however they may reduce future costs.[6] For example, a crew might build a work platform rather than purchase, replace, and maintain fall arrest equipment. "Enclosure and isolation" creates a physical barrier between personnel and hazards, such as using remotely controlled equipment. Fume hoods can remove airborne contaminants as a means of engineered control.[5]

Administrative controls[edit]

This sign warns people that there are explosives in Walker Lake, however it cannot prevent people from swimming in it.

Administrative controls are changes to the way people work. Examples of administrative controls include procedure changes, employee training, and installation of signs and warning labels (such as those in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System).[3] Administrative controls do not remove hazards, but limit or prevent people's exposure to the hazards, such as completing road construction at night when fewer people are driving.[5]

Personal protective equipment[edit]

Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes gloves, Nomex/Uniform, respirators, hard hats, safety glasses, high-visibility clothing, and safety footwear. PPE is the least effective means of controlling hazards because of the high potential for damage to render PPE ineffective.[5] Additionally, some PPE, such as respirators, increase physiological effort to complete a task and, therefore, may require medical examinations to ensure workers can use the PPE without risking their health.

Role in Prevention through Design[edit]

The hierarchy of controls is a core component of Prevention through Design, the concept of applying methods to minimize occupational hazards early in the design process. Prevention through Design emphasizes addressing hazards at the top of the hierarchy of controls (mainly through elimination and substitution) at the earliest stages of project development.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

  1. ^ "Hierarchy of Controls". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Hierarchy of Controls" (PDF). Health and Safety Authority (Ireland). 
  3. ^ a b c d "Hierarchy of Hazard Controls". New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  4. ^ "How the hierarchy of control can help you fulfil your health and safety duties". Occupational Health & Safety Handbook. 2012-01-20. Archived from the original on 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Hazard Control". Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. 2006-04-20. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  6. ^ a b "Engineering Controls". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  7. ^ "Tree Work – Working at height". UK Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  8. ^ "Hierarchy of control diagram". Safework SA. Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  9. ^ "Hierarchy of Controls". SA Unions. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  10. ^ MANUAL HANDLING HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS Archived 2012-09-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Manual Handling: Hierarchy of Controls" (PDF). WorkCover New South Wales. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-22. 
  12. ^ "Hazard identification, risk assessment & risk control in the workplace". WorkSafe Victoria. Archived from the original on 2013-10-23. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  13. ^ "CDC - Hierarchy of Controls - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 

External links[edit]