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Hierarchy of Hazard Control

Definition - What does Hierarchy of Hazard Control mean?

A hierarchy of hazard control is a systematic step by step process used in workplaces to minimize or reduce exposure to hazards. A triangle with apex upwards shows the priority of actions and decreasing effectiveness from top to the bottom in sequence elimination, substitution, engineering, administration and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Safeopedia explains Hierarchy of Hazard Control

Controlling hazards to protect workers in a workplace is the primary responsibility and a legitimate issue for the owner and the management. A conventional order of precedence to control hazards is used to reduce the hazard by affordable, feasible and effective controls.

A hierarchy of hazard control can be briefly described as follows:

  • Elimination - The first and the best way to eliminate the hazard is by removing the initial element or cause, machine or the process all together
  • Substitution - Substitute with an alternative non-hazardous or less hazardous material, machine or process
  • Engineering controls - If a hazard cannot be eliminated or there is no alternative that can be found, then the next step is to use engineering controls, such as a machine guard.
  • Administrative controls - Next is the administrative controls, such as warnings, labeling, signs, alarms, training, isolation, exposure control and monitoring etc.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) - It is the least effective method and should be used only while other more effective controls are being developed or installed. PPE is not fool-proof, not comfortable, not popular and can actually create hazards

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