The hazard control hierarchy provides a clear way on how to control hazards in the workplace effectively.
There are many kinds of safety hazards in the workplace; chemical hazards, biological hazards, ergonomic hazards, physical hazards, radiation hazards, and environmental hazards.
An accident may happen if these hazards are not controlled effectively.
Let’s see an example.
If there is a chemical hazard and you don’t control the hazard, what will happen?
Chemical spills and chemical exposures may happen!
So that’s why hazard control holds very important roles in accident prevention in the workplace.
However, before you can start controlling hazards, the very first step you shall do is to ensure that all potential hazards have been identified.
But, the key is to carry out the hazard identification process with care.
And be careful not to leave unidentified potential hazards.
If you fail to do hazard identification completely, this means that you will never be able to control these hazards.
Until you can identify them and address a proper control.
After the hazard identification process and evaluation of their risk levels finished, the next step is to choose the most appropriate hazard control technique.
The implementation of proper hazard control techniques is very important in eliminating the impact of hazards.
The best way to do this is by following the hazard control hierarchy.
Hazard Control Hierarchy – 5 Hazard Control Techniques
There are 5 hazard control techniques in the hazard control hierarchy or hierarchy of control.
The hazard control hierarchy becomes the backbone of workplace hazard control.
These 5-hazard control techniques include:
- Engineering control
- Administrative control
- Personal Protective Equipment or PPE
As the general rule, you must follow the above sequence of hazard control pyramid, from no.1 to no.5.
This means that you shall choose the hazard control technique based on the above sequence, started from elimination to the usage of PPE.
Don’t choose the PPE technique directly.
Okay, now I will explain these 5 hazard control techniques briefly:
Elimination: this technique removes hazards completely from the workplace.
Reduction: this technique cannot eliminate hazards as the elimination technique does. It can only reduce the hazard level.
Engineering control: this technique is implemented to isolate hazards from the source suppose by installing a barrier.
Administrative control: with this technique, hazards are controlled by providing standard operating procedures, regulating working hours, reducing exposure, etc.
Personal Protective Equipment: using appropriate PPE to control hazard exposure toward the body.
Example of Hazard Control Techniques Implementation in the Workplace
To give you a deeper understanding of hazard control techniques, let’s see some real examples of the implementation of each technique in manufacturing industries.
Example of the elimination technique:
A chemical company uses ion exchange technology to produce purified water.
This technology uses a strong acid – hydrochloric acid – and a strong base – sodium hydroxide – as chemicals for ion exchange regeneration.
However, the problem is hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide are hazardous chemicals. Both chemicals will harm the safety of workers and the environment.
To eliminate the hazard, then the company decides to procure the purified water from a third party and stop its ion exchange unit.
This means that the company will stop using hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide.
So, in this example, the potential hazards are eliminated by using the elimination technique.
Example of the reduction technique:
In water treatment, the usage of chlorine gas is a common practice in some countries.
As you may already know that residual chlorine will stay in the water and contaminate the water.
To reduce the hazard level, the usage of chlorine is then replaced by hydrogen peroxide, which is safer than chlorine.
Example of engineering control:
A common example of this technique is the usage of motor cover for pump or compressor to avoid rotating blade harms the worker.
Example of administrative control:
Here are several examples of the implementation of administrative control:
-Limit night working hour
-Frequent rotation of workers who are exposed to chemical hazard
–The use of safety slogans and safety warning in a plant site
Example of personal protective equipment:
The usage of complete and appropriate PPE is the key to the implementation of this technique.
In addition, the implementation of this technique is usually combined with other hazard control techniques.
In this case, the administrative control is a common communication channel.
In conclusion, effective hazard control is the key to accident prevention. It can be achieved only by following the hazard control hierarchy.