5 Risk Control Measures

The 5 risk control measures, what they mean, and how to apply them.

project managers performing project risk assessment

Published 11 Oct 2022

What are Risk Control Measures?

After identifying and assigning a risk rating to a hazard, effective controls should be implemented to protect workers. Working through a hierarchy of controls can be an effective method of choosing the right control measure to reduce the risk.

Below is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Hierarchy of Controls composed of elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE—can help guide you in the process of formulating your organization’s control measures.

Elimination

It is the most effective control. If it is possible to physically remove a hazard, it must be done.

Substitution

It is the second most effective control. It proposes to replace the hazard with a safer alternative e.g. automating a manual process identified to be dangerous, buying a newer equipment model with better safety ratings, etc.

Engineering controls

It refers to physically isolating people from the hazard if at all possible

Administrative controls

It refers to changing the way people work. This may include procedural updates, additional training, or increasing the visibility of precautionary signs and warning labels.

PPE

It is the last line of defense if workers cannot be completely removed from a hazardous environment.

niosh hierarchy of controls

OSHA recommends the following guidelines to accomplish hazard control

  • Eliminate or control all serious hazards immediately.
  • Use interim controls while you develop and implement longer-term solutions.
  • Select controls according to a hierarchy that emphasizes engineering solutions (including elimination or substitution) first, followed by safe work practices, administrative controls, and finally personal protective equipment.
  • Avoid selecting controls that may directly or indirectly introduce new hazards.
  • Review and discuss control options with workers to ensure that controls are feasible and effective.
  • Use a combination of control options when no single method fully protects workers.
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