Hierarchy of Controls

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Hierarchy of Control

The Hierarchy of Control is a list of control measures, in priority order, that can be used to eliminate or minimise exposure to the hazard.

It consists of two levels

Consider elimination before all other options.


1st Priority Elimination of Hazard


Minimisation Options which substantially reduce the risk.

2nd Priority Substitution

3rd Priority Engineering

4th Priority Administration

Last Priority P.P.E.

From “Officewise”, Comcare

Many employers start from the bottom of the list when considering options. Some think that it is cheaper and/or simpler to change worker behaviour or give them some protection against the hazard that to fix the cause of the problem. In the long run this approach costs more in time and money and is less effective.


Options which get rid of the hazard altogether.

The best way to eliminate the risk is to completely remove the hazard.

For example,

the need for excessive photocopying and collation can be eliminated if material is circulated by electronic mail; repair damaged equipment promptly; ensure new equipment meets the ergonomic needs of users; move a noisy machine from a quiet area.

Replacing a hazardous substance or work practice with a less hazardous one.

For example,

a telephone hand set can be replaced with a head set where there is constant use of the telephone. substituting a smaller package or container to reduce the risk of manual handling injuries such as back strain substituting a hazardous chemical with a less dangerous one
Engineering Controls

The provision of mechanical aids, barriers, machine guarding, ventilation or insulation to isolate a hazard from employees.

For example;

electrical cut out switches, roll over frames on…...

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