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The Hierarchy of Control

What is the Hierarchy of Control?

The Hierarchy of Control series of measures that we can use to help control risks. The measures that make up the hierarchy of control are arranged in the following order:

· Eliminate

· Substitute

· Engineering Controls

· Administrative Controls

· Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

There is also a statement that supplements the hierarchy of control which is:

‘Priority is always given to the collective measure and PPE is always a last resort.’

The Hierarchy of control should always be considered when carrying out a risk assessment.

The five control measures that make up the hierarchy of control.

1. Eliminate the risk. This could be using a water-based dust suppression system to eliminate silica dust when cutting materials that contain sand such as Bricks, blocks, paving slabs and kerbs.

2. Substitution involves replacing the hazardous material for something less hazardous. This could be replacing a solvent based paint for water-based paint or substituting a heavy concrete block for a lightweight aeriated concrete block.

3. Engineering controls involve isolating people from the hazard. This could be guarding dangerous parts of a machine or erecting barriers around an excavation. It could also be erecting edge protection around the perimeter of a roof when there is work at height to be carried out. It could also be enclosing noisy parts of a machine with acoustic walls or panelling.

4. Administrative controls aim change to the way people work. This could be procedural changes or employee training. It can also installation of signs or propaganda posters in canteens or around the workplace. Administrative controls help to limit or prevent the exposure to the hazard.

5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the use respirators, gloves, head protection, hearing, eye and foot protection. PPE should always be considered as a last resort because it does nothing to reduce the hazard. PPE only protects the individual wearing it, not anyone else in the workplace. PPE can only be effective if the individual is trained in the use of PPE and it is correctly selected, fitted, used and is cared for.

Careful consideration must be given to the selection of PPE with regards to how it may affect the visibility of the user, the mobility of the user, communication with and from the user and any potential impact that it may have on the task to be carried out.

PPE should always be considered as a last resort.

In Summary.

Workers have the potential to be exposed to hazards that may lead to occupational health issues in the short term and long term. Workers also have the potential to be exposed to hazards that may cause injuries. The hierarchy of control can be an effective management tool that can help companies to avoid workplace injuries and occupational health issues among workers. Effective implementation of the hierarchy of control can also help to reduce costs, minimise errors, reduce waste and improve overall efficiency and productivity within an organisation.

The implementation of effective health and safety management systems within an organisation and a move towards an improved culture of health and safety within companies will improve the overall performance and profitability of a company.

Health and safety is not a financial burden.

For more advice on the hierarchy of control or assistance with health and safety, please get in touch.