The hierarchy of controls was established as a process to assist companies in identifying the most effective means of controlling hazards. As you move down the hierarchy, the controls become less reliable and effective at protecting workers. It is recognized that, at this time, not all hazards can be eliminated, however companies should attempt to evaluate control options at each level and only proceed down the hierarchy when no viable opportunities are available.

For Example:

If a facility is using a chemical which generates hazardous airborne contaminants to which workers may be exposed, the facility must evaluate whether safer chemical alternatives or engineering controls such as ventilation are available before moving down the hierarchy and selecting PPE as a control measure.

Hierarchy of Controls Resources

The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Hierarchy of Controls Website


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