Safety Hierarchy Of Controls [6 Steps Of Hazard Prevention]

You can separate yourself from hazards while working because there is always a risk involved in the work. The thing you can do is reduce risk. OSHA had posted Hazard Prevention and Control on the website which is a hierarchy also known as the safety hierarchy of controls which can help with hazard prevention and control.

Yes, there is a hierarchy that does exist for risk control. As you all are aware of what is a risk but still as a part of refreshment to the concept, In occupational safety and health risk is considered as the likelihood that a person may be harmed or suffers adverse health effects if exposed to a hazard.

safety hierarchy of controls

The thing we need to understand is there is no such word as Zero risk exist. Risk can not be zero and every work that we do includes risk to some extent. All we can do is, we can reduce the risk and that is what we are going to learn in this article i.e what is safety hierarchy of controls is and how the hierarchy of risk control helps us to reduce the risk. So if you want to learn the hierarchy of control then continue reading.

What are the six steps of the hierarchy of risk control?

  1. Elimination 
  2. Substitution
  3. Isolation
  4. Engineering
  5. Administration
  6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

These are the 6 basic steps that are known as the hierarchy of control which can be applied to control accidents. As we had learned the name of the safety hierarchy of controls, let us dive in to know each of these in detail.

1. Elimination 

The first choice for how to reduce or eliminate a hazard is elimination. Elimination is the first step safety hierarchy of controls that proposes to remove the hazard or danger involved from the job/process.

Eg- If in a process, a chemical is used that is very explosive then design a process in which that explosive chemical is eliminated.

2. Substitution

This step states to replace the step which is riskier with the other one which contains no risk or very little risk

Eg- In a chemical reaction, a non-conductive solvent is used and as you, not it is very hard to handle it as they are more prone to static charge, Hence design a process such that a non-conductive solvent is replaced with a conductive solvent.

3. Isolation

This involves a step that comes into the picture when the risk involved in the job can’t be eliminated or substituted then it is recommended to isolate and reduce the danger involved in the job.

Eg. – If vessel entry is to be taken in a reactor and the stirrer in that job is a potential hazard. To reduce the hazard we use log out tag out procedure to de-energize the stirrer and hence isolate it.

4. Engineering control

Engineering controls are the methods/steps taken to reduce the danger involved in the job with the help of mechanical means.

Eg- The belt conveyor and the pump had rotating components where machine guarding works as an engineering control to reduce risk and hazard in industries. These machine guards, effective ventilation systems, etc protect a working person’s body parts from accidental contact with those rotating machine parts.

5. Administration control

These controls are the actions taken by the administration or the management towards reducing the potential harm that can cause to the human while performing the work.

Eg 1- A chemical reaction included charging of a chemical whose STEL value is very low. Management can schedule charging time as to work for 15 min then take rest in open space for 1 hour till that other person can perform charging of that material and follow the same procedure.

Eg 2 – Work permit system (permit to work) is also the best example of administration control.

6. Personal protective equipment

Personal protective equipment includes the equipment that can be used while performing job having risk and it helps the person to be safe while performing. PPE’s are of various types and protect different body parts.

  • Head – Helmet,
  • Foot – safety shoes
  • Hand – Nitrile, PVC coated fabric gloves, Leather Gloves, Cotton/Fabric Gloves
  • Whole body – PVC suits boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits
  • Eyes – face shield, goggles

Eg- Wearing safety shoes and safety helmets are compulsory for every person working in the industry.

These were the 6 steps process of the hierarchy of hazard control which can help you to identify the potential hazard at your workplace and by implementing this process you can reduce hazards and create workplace safety.

FAQ (Hierarchy of Control)

1. What are safety controls?

Ans – In every job, there are some risk included in it. Safety controls are the measure that can be taken to reduce the risk and hazards involved in the jobs.

2. What are the 6 steps in the hierarchy of safety control?

Ans – There are a total of 5 steps in the hierarchy of control which are described in the following list.
1. Eliminating the Risk
2. Substituting the Risk
3. Isolate the Risk
4. Engineering Controls
5. Administrative Controls
6. Personal Protective Equipment

3. What is the last measure in the hierarchy of control?

Ans – The use of PPE, and personal protective equipment is considered as the last measure in safety control because of its least effectiveness to in hazard control.

4. Which is the first step in hazard control?

Ans – The first step in safety control is elimination. This is considered as the most effective step in hazard control in which we remove the risk from the job.

5. What is the safest level of hazard control?

Ans – The safest level of hazard control is the first level of safety control as Elimination. In elimination, we remove the risk involved in the job.

Wrapping Up

Hope this post on the safety hierarchy of controls which includes 6 steps of the hierarchy of risk control helps you to have a better understanding of this important occupation safety and health topic. The best outcome of this article can be, you find out some implementation in your organization and make work culture more safe. In case you relate these hazard prevention along with the hierarchy of controls then do comment and also don’t forgot to check out the Industrial safety section where we had more articles related to safety at the workplace.

Me - Founder of Chemical Tweak - A Chemical Engineer by profession and a part-time self-trained technology blogger.

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