Based on the level of risk presented by identified hazards, decisions can be made about:
- the best way to remove the risk, or
- if not 'reasonably practicable', to lessen the risk of harm to the lowest possible level.
A range of strategies should be considered in controlling (or managing) the risk.
Hierarchy of controls
The hierarchy of controls listed below, has various strategies that can be applied to control risk listed from most effective to least effective. Use it to determine the actions that can be taken to eliminate or control hazards.
Eliminate the hazard
- replace manual operations with automated operations
- use a different less dangerous piece of equipment
- fix faulty machinery
- redesign the workplace
- use safer materials or chemicals
Isolate the hazard from the people
- redesign the equipment,
raise/lower shelves, use guards etc.
- remove dust or fumes with exhaust system
- use lifting equipment or trolleys
- provide adjustable work bench / table
- using trolleys or other suitable equipment to move heavy or awkward items
- maintaining and regularly checking all equipment used for manual handling tasks (a documented trolley register and maintenance schedule can be useful)
- reorganising storage areas so that heavier and frequently used items are stored between shoulder and knee height
- redesign the equipment,
Change the way the job is done
- change work practices
- provide training, information and signs
- introduce job rotation to reduce exposure, or timing the job so that fewer people are exposed to the hazard
- routine maintenance and housekeeping procedures
- change the flow of jobs to minimise the amount of handling involved
- eliminate double handling
- provide a trolley appropriate to task - larger wheels or higher handle
- do not overload trolley
- break down heavy loads into smaller components
Use personal protective equipment (PPE)
Requiring the use of personal protective equipment; for example, eye protection, ear plugs, etc. is the least effective method of controlling a risk.
This control method relies on employees or students wearing the equipment and on the equipment always being available in good condition.
It is obviously much better if the hazard has been removed, so that no one is exposed in any way to the potential danger.
If PPE is to be used to control a risk:
- the PPE must be suitable to the job and properly maintained, and
- provide training and information in its use must be provided.
There is further information on the use of personal protective equipment at UTS.