Hierarchy of Controls Protects Against Exposure to Occupational Hazards

USW atomic workers eliminate hazards to the community when they clean up America’s most toxic and radioactive sites, but they also need protection themselves from such exposure.The hierarchy of controls can help them do that.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health developed the Hierarchy of Controls to help protect workers from exposure to occupational hazards. Companies use this model to put into action different levels of hazard control.

The idea behind this hierarchy is that the control methods at the top of the graphic are potentially more effective and protective than those at the bottom. A visual representation of the Hierarchy of Controls is included for your reference.

Following this method normally leads to enacting inherently safer systems, where the risk of illness or injury is substantially reduced.

The control methods include: elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE). Elimination and substitution, while most effective at reducing hazards, also tend to be the most difficult to implement in an existing process. However, if the process is still at the design or development stage, elimination and substitution of hazards may be inexpensive and simple to enact.

Engineering controls are preferable over administrative changes and PPE for controlling existing workplace exposures because they are designed to remove the hazard at the source, before it comes in contact with the worker. Administrative controls and PPE programs may be relatively inexpensive to establish, but over the long term, they can be very costly to sustain.

For more information about the Hierarchy of Controls, go HERE.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222