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Hazard management: What is the hierarchy of controls?

hierarchy of controls hazard

Hazard management: What is the hierarchy of controls?

The hierarchy of controls provides a systematic approach to managing hazards in the workplace. It Helps to enhance occupational health and safety in the workplace by eliminating hazards and controlling occupational health and safety risks that can result to harm. 

In the hierarchy of controls, The control above the other is considered more effective than the one below. For example, the elimination method is more effective than the substitution method. And you can apply more than one control in hazard management. However, the goal is to manage the hazards and risks on-site.


Hazard management: What is the hierarchy of controls?

1. Elimination.

This method of hazard control involves removing the hazard away from the environment or the work location so that it doesn’t exit again. There are ways the elimination method can work, for instance, by stopping the usage of hazardous chemicals. The elimination method ensures removing the hazard from that particular work area. Doing an elimination method at work may be one of the following as listed below.

  • Elimination of all forms of monotonous work that result in stress
  • Removing moving equipment from a particular area
  • Stopping all forms of manual lifting in a work area. 

2. Substitution

This method of hazard control involves replacing the hazardous with the less hazardous. In this method, the less hazardous material replaces the more hazardous material. Doing a substitution method at work may be one of the following as listed below.

  • Replacing solvent-based paints with water-based paint.
  • Replacing slippery floor material with less slippery one. 

3. Engineering controls

This method involves reorganization of work and isolating people away from the hazard. In this regard, isolation prevents people from exposure to the hazardous effect. 

Examples of engineering controls are 

  • Use of machine guarding in the equipment
  • Use of guard rails to prevent falls from height
  • Reorganization of work lone working 
  • Reducing noise with equipment. For example, the use of soundproof material to contain noise.
  • Making available a ventilation system in a workplace. 

4. Administrative controls

This method of hazard control is mainly what the management does in terms of providing education, training, supervision and instruction to workers. The administrative control involves conducting periodic safety inspections and medical surveillance programs.

Other examples under administrative control include

  • Appropriate instruction to workers on how to work safely on equipment.
  • Changing work patterns, for example, using work shifts
  • Conducting site safety induction of workers.
  • Managing contractors’ health and safety 
  • Training on the use of work equipment.
  • Job rotation.

5. Personal protective equipment.

Personal protective equipment is the last line of defence because it is the final method on the hazard hierarchy of controls.PPE does not stop incidents from happening. However, it offers protection to reduce the impact during an incident. A worker who had a bumping incident from a walkway load obstruction while wearing a safety boot will likely have less injury than when the worker is not wearing a safety boot. Personal protective equipment includes safety shoes, Safety hand gloves, safety helmets, etc. Instructions for PPE maintenance and usage are all seen under this method. 

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