Hierarchy of Controls (Info-graph summary)

Written by Mallory Picard

Ensuring the safety and health of workers in any workplace is a top priority for organizations worldwide. One of the most effective frameworks for managing and mitigating risks is the Hierarchy of Controls. This systematic approach, used for decades within the field of occupational health and safety, helps organizations prioritize and implement the most effective measures to reduce workplace hazards.


Hierarchy of Controls Infographic 

The hierarchy consists of five levels, each representing a different approach to control hazards, listed in order of effectiveness:


Elimination: Elimination involves completely removing the hazard from the workplace and is the most effective control measure. By eliminating the hazard, there is no possibility of exposure and no associated risk. However, if elimination is not feasible then the next approach, substitution, is considered.

Substitution: When elimination is not possible, substitution involves replacing the hazard with a less hazardous alternative. This could be a substance, equipment, or a process. For example, replacing a toxic chemical with a less toxic one.

Engineering Controls: The next control focuses on designing the workplace equipment to minimize the risk. This may include the installation of physical barriers, ventilation systems, or safety guards to isolate workers from a hazard.

Administrative Controls: This control involves changing work practices and policies to reduce exposure to hazards. Implementing safety procedures, providing training, scheduling breaks, or rotating job tasks are all examples of administration controls to minimize exposure time. While not as effective as engineering controls, this control can still significantly reduce risk when properly executed.

Personal Protective Equipment: The last line of defense and the least effective control measure in the hierarchy of controls is personal protective equipment. Gloves, goggles, respirators, and earplugs are just a small example of protective equipment that can be worn to protect workers. If all four controls, elimination, substitution, engineering, and administrative controls are not suitable, this control should be used.

By following the depicted pyramid, with elimination being the most effective and personal protective equipment being the least effective control, organizations can systemically assess and address workplace hazards to create safer working environments. By following this depicted pyramid, with elimination being the most effective and personal protective equipment being the least effective control, organizations can systematically assess and address workplace hazards. The goal is to create safer working environments and ensure the well-being of all employees. Implementing these controls not only protects workers but also promotes a culture of safety that benefits everyone in the organization.

If you need help with Health and Safety in your organization, please don’t hesitate to reach out to info@leaaf.com.