In every industry, safeguarding the workplace from hazards and risks is more than just a regulatory requirement – it's the right thing to do. Ensuring the safety of your people is crucial – it is also a multifaceted challenge. The key to navigating this challenge lies in the Hierarchy of Controls, a systematic approach that helps businesses ensure they have the right controls in place to eliminate or minimise risks.
Imagine the Hierarchy of Controls as the ultimate business GPS to guide you from your starting point to your destination.
Starting at the top, we have Elimination. Think of that dodgy old machine, maybe it's time to let it go.
Slide a notch down, and there's Substitution. Ever had that moment where you realize there's a smarter way to do things? That's substitution. Like switching from that toxic glue to something less sinister.
And here's a curveball – Isolation. Not the type where you binge-watch shows all weekend, but the kind where you put some safe space between workers and potential hazards. Say, setting up barriers to keep wandering customers out of the workshop. Isolation can also mean isolating energy sources – like unplugging and locking out a piece of equipment prior to cleaning it.
Next, is Engineering Controls. The hands-on, DIY segment. Maybe it’s as cool as revamping your air vents or installing those safety guards on the machines.
Once you’ve got to this point, its time to cross your t’s and dot your I’s - Administrative Controls. These can be anything from writing policies and procedures, to organising training and competency assessments.
And lastly, our trusty sidekicks - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These are the unsung heroes – hi-vis, safety boots, hard hats, goggles, earplugs, gloves, the works. Remember, they’re here to back up all those other controls…they are never the only solution.
Now, implementing these controls is step one. Keeping track of 'em? That's the tricky bit...
Stay tuned for our next blog featuring all our handy hints for keeping your Hazard Register a living document.