Identifying Controls

There are different methods that can be used and places to consult to identify controls. Many employers rely on their internal resources to identify possible controls. These inhouse experts may include the following:

  • • Employees who perform the job and their supervisors
  • • Engineering personnel
  • • Workplace safety and health personnel or committee
  • • Maintenance personnel
  • • On-site health care professionals
  • • Procurement staff
  • • Human resource personnel

Possible controls can also be identified from sources outside the workplace, such as the following:

  • • Equipment catalogs
  • • Vendors
  • • Trade associations or labor unions
  • • Conferences and trade shows
  • • Insurance companies
  • • OSHA consultation services
  • • Specialists

Assessing Controls

The assessment of controls is an effort by management, with input from employees, to select controls that are reasonably anticipated to eliminate or materially reduce the ergonomic hazards. Several controls may be available that would be reasonably likely to reduce the hazard. Multiple control alternatives are often available, especially when several risk factors contribute to the ergonomic hazard. The employer may need to assess which of the possible controls should be tried. Clearly, a control that significantly reduces several risk factors is preferred over a control that only reduces one of the risk factors.

Selection of the risk factor(s) to control, and control measures to try, can be based on numerous criteria. An example of one method involves ranking all of the ergonomic risk factors and possible controls according to how well they meet these four criteria:

  • • Effectiveness—greatest reduction in exposure to the ergonomic hazards
  • • Acceptability—employees most likely to accept and use this control
  • • Timeliness—takes least amount of time to implement, train, and achieve material reduction in exposure to ergonomic hazards
  • • Cost—elimination or material reduction of exposure to ergonomic hazards at the lowest cost
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