Ideally, hazards should be controlled by applying modern management principles. Use a comprehensive, proactive system to control hazards rather than a reactive, piecemeal response to each concern as it arises. This chapter discusses why an employer should take a proactive approach to do the following:

  • • Evaluate the hazard needing control.
  • • Eliminate the hazard.
  • • Select the best control available.
  • • Use a temporary control until a more effective one can be implemented.
  • • Check the effectiveness of the control.
  • • Reassess as necessary.

Technical Aspect of Hazard Controls

As a first step in hazard control, determine if the hazards can be controlled at their source (where the problem is created) through applied engineering. If this does not work, try to put controls between the source and the worker. The closer a control is to the source of the hazard, the better. If this is not possible, hazards must be controlled at the level of the worker. For example, workers can be required to use a specific work procedure to prevent harm.

One type of hazard control may not be completely effective. A combination of several different types of hazard controls often works well. Whatever method is used, an attempt should be made to try to find the root cause of each hazard and not simply control the symptoms. For example, it might be better to redesign a work process than simply improve a work procedure. It is better to replace, redesign, isolate, or quiet a noisy machine than to issue nearby workers hearing protectors. There are many potential mechanisms for controlling hazards, such as the following:

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