An important aspect of the above hierarchy is that people tend to view each of the various controls as a fix all process. This is fine if taken in the context of understanding that the first five (5) controls are seeking to control the identified hazard by making the work environment safe.
The sixth control of “personal protective equipment” is only seeking to make the employee safe and not the work environment.
It is an important fact of life that we cannot rely on just one control when there is a need in most cases to apply a combination of controls to a specific hazard.
In applying a series of controls to a specific hazard we should look at options higher in the list. It is also most important to note that all introduced controls require management involvement to ensure that training is appropriate and that the introduced procedure does in fact work.
Make the Workplace Safe:
1. Can the hazard be Eliminated?
2. Can we Substitute or replace the hazard?
3. Can we Isolate the hazard from the employee?
4. Will an Administrative Control fix the problem?
5. Can we introduce Engineering Controls to control the hazard?
Make the Employee Safe:
1. Can we introduce Personal Protective Equipment?