Almost every workplace will have risks and hazards that people will encounter, of course, some more than others. Health & Safety managers will be tasked with addressing these to make it as safe as possible for the team to carry out their tasks.
The hierarchy of hazard control is a well-known and widely used system used to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards. It works through different stages/approaches, starting with what is deemed as most effective down to least effective.
1. Elimination -
This is physically removing the hazard. In most cases, this is easier said than done and can be very difficult or expensive unless the process is still in early stages of development. Examples include:
- Moving a noisy machine from a room where people work regularly to avoid the risk of damaging hearing.
- If something requires a ladder or scaffolding to be worked on, rather bring it down to ground level instead of working at height, to remove the danger of falling whilst performing the task.
2. substitution -
This is replacing the hazard in either the materials or process used with a less hazardous option.
- For example: selecting a non-toxic chemical to replace a harmful chemical used in a process, which performs in the same way but is safer for those working nearby, or when it needs to be disposed of.
3. Engineering controls -
This does not remove the hazard but instead isolates the worker from it. These may seem expensive options at the time, but can potentially save costs long term with less requirements for PPE. Examples include:
- Install local exhaust ventilation to control risks from dust or fume where required.
- Enclose or shield dangerous items of equipment from operators.
4. administrative controls -
This is changing the way people work. Examples of this are:
- Regular Health & Safety Training so workers are aware of best practise and what the risks are.
- Decreasing the length of shifts so workers are less likely to become complacent with their tasks.
- Ensuring all hazards are well sign posted. (visit https://www.swiftindustrialdirect.co.uk/Safety-Signage/ to order any signs you require)
5. personal protective equipment -
And lastly, Personal Protective Equipment. Once all the above measures have been explored and implemented where possible, it’s quite likely that there will be a level of risk left. In these instances, the workers must wear suitable PPE to protect themselves from the hazards.
PPE covers a wide range of products, from disposable clothing, to respiratory protection, to hi-vis. These protect the individual from multiple risks such as heat, chemical, dust, low visibility environments.
Choosing the right PPE so that it offers both the level of protection required and allows the workers to carry out their tasks efficiently, can be time consuming or confusing. That’s where Swift360 can help – we provide an extensive range of safety solutions and can work with Health & Safety and Procurement to ensure that, through correct PPE, tools and signage, your people are kept safe every day.