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Home Membership Information Services Safety and workers' compensation Risk management - Controlling risks

Risk management - Controlling risks

How do I control risks?

The choice and application of risk control options is guided by the application of the hierarchy of control.

High Level Controls concentrate on controlling risk through elimination, substitution or engineering controls. During normal operations, these controls do not require any specific risk control activity to be undertaken by the worker to maintain the control.Low Level Controls such as administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) require individuals to actively participate in controlling the risk.

The focus of risk control should be the elimination of the risk through job or process redesign. eg. completely automating a task.Administrative Controls include safe work procedures, job rotation, warning signs. These controls are less reliable as they are dependent on human behaviour to be effective.

If it is not possible to eliminate the hazard, substitution with a less hazardous process should be considered, e.g. replacing a solvent based cleaner with a water based cleaner.Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes the wearing of respirators, gloves, glasses, hard hats and the use of items such as fall restraints. This control option relies on the worker wearing or using the equipment and ensuring that it is fitted and used correctly.

Where a risk continues to exist, engineering controls are utilised to keep the person separated from the hazard, these controls include ventilation systems for chemicals and guarding of hazardous parts of machinery.In most Regulations, an employer is required to identify why it is not practicable to apply the “high level” controls, before relying on administrative controls or PPE to deal with the risk.