The hierarchy of controls is intended to provide a systematic approach to enhance occupational health and safety, eliminate hazards, and reduce or control OH&S risks. Each control is considered less effective than the one before it. It is usual to combine several controls in order to succeed in reducing the OH&S risks to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable.
- Elimination: Redesign the job or substitute a substance so that the hazard is removed
or eliminated, e.g. avoid working at height, by pre fabricating at ground level.
- Substitution: Replace the material or process with a less hazardous one, e.g. use water based products rather than solvents.
- Engineering controls: Use work equipment to prevent falls where you cannot
avoid working at height. Install or use additional machinery such as local
exhaust ventilation to control risks from dust or fume. Separate the hazard
from operators by methods such as enclosing or guarding dangerous items
of machinery/equipment. Give priority to measures which protect
collectively over individual measures.
- Administrative controls: Identify and implement procedures, e.g. safe systems of work, permits to work. Or, e.g. reducing the time workers are exposed to
hazards (eg by job rotation); increasing safety signage, and performing risk assessments.
- Personal protective equipment: Only rely on PPE after all the previous measures have been tried and found ineffective in
controlling risks, e.g. where you cannot eliminate the risk of a fall use a harness to minimise the
distance and consequences of a fall