Hierarchy of Controls

The “Hierarchy of Controls” should be used at all times when implementing controls to eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk of a hazard causing loss / damage / injuries.

The hierarchy of hazard controls is a list which emphasises controlling a hazard at the source.

This is done by giving preference to the use of the ‘engineering controls’ outlined in strategies 1 to 3 below. These types of strategies should be used, where possible, because they are less subject to human failure and because they are less disruptive and uncomfortable for people working in the area.

Back-up controls (such as PPE and administrative controls) should only be used as a last resort or as a support to other control measures.

In many cases, it will be necessary to use more than one control method.

Whichever methods you use, regular monitoring is important to to make sure that the control is working effectively and that exposure to the hazard is reduced or eliminated.

The hierarchy of controls is:

Elimination: Obviously the most effective method will be to remove the hazard completely, if it is possible.

Substitution: Replace the hazard with a lesser hazard. Be careful to assess what new risks the substitute may pose.

Engineering: Make changes to the process, equipment or plant to reduce the hazard. e.g. change to ‘wet’ processes to reduce dust, enclose or isolate the hazard, install ventilation systems.

Administrative: Establishing policies and procedures to minimise the risks, job scheduling to limit exposure, posting hazard signs, restricting access, training.

Behaviour: Following safe work practices, workplace good housekeeping, personal hygiene practices.

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment provides a barrier between the wearer and the hazard. PPE items include respirators, safety goggles, blast shields, hard hats, hearing protectors, gloves, face shields, and footwear.


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