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Control Banding

What Does Control Banding Mean?

Control banding is a risk assessment and management method that groups similar hazards into categories, or bands. Each of these bands has a corresponding hazard control strategy that applies to all hazards grouped under it.

Control banding is a simplified approach to dealing with workplace hazards and can be useful for smaller employers who may not have a qualified safety professional on staff.

Safeopedia Explains Control Banding

Control banding was originally developed by the pharmaceutical industry. It served as a guide for working safely with hazardous materials that did not have specified exposure limits. Later, it was adopted in nanotechnology, construction, ergonomics, and across various types of small businesses.

How Control Banding Works

While workplaces can contain numerous hazards, there are a limited number of ways to control them and protect workers. For instance, various respiratory hazards can be mitigated with proper ventilation.

Chemicals with similar properties can be grouped into a single band, which then provides guidance on the exposure potential and effective controls for those chemicals. Products are placed into hazard bands based on the following factors:

  • Toxicity
  • Ease of entering the body
  • Type of work process that brings the worker into contact with the hazard (e.g. grinding, welding, chemical handling)
  • Exposure duration
  • Quantity of the product being used

A product having a greater risk of causing health hazards and higher exposure potential will require a higher level of control compared to a product with a low health hazard or exposure potential.

Control Banding and Safety Practices

Control banding is not a replacement for a comprehensive occupational health and safety program, nor does it eliminate the need to perform exposure monitoring. Consulting with a certified safety professional is also needed for highly hazardous exposures.

Control Banding in Brief

Control banding:

  • Is a technique that makes use of previous knowledge
  • Provides task-based advice
  • Focuses on control measures
  • Is particularly useful for small and medium-sized businesses
  • Requires additional follow up as well as a complementary health and safety program

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