The hierarchy of control is a step-by-step approach to eliminating or reducing risks and it ranks risk controls from the highest level of protection and reliability through to the lowest and least reliable protection.
First, identify and assess the risks, then decide the best way to control them by applying the Hierarchy of Control as follows:
- Eliminate hazards and risks - Highest level of protection and most effective control.
Eliminating the hazard and the risk it creates is the most effective control measure. You must always aim to eliminate the risk, which is the most effective control. If this is not reasonably practicable, you must minimise the risk by working through the other alternatives in the hierarchy.
- Reduce the risk
Reduce the risk with one or more of the following controls:
- Substitution - Substitute the risks with lesser risks Isolation
- Isolate people from the risks
- Engineering - Reduce the risks through engineering changes or changes to systems of work.
- Administrative controls - Low level of protection and less reliable control.
Use administrative actions to minimize exposure to hazards and to reduce the level of harm
- Personal protective equipment
Lowest level of protection and least reliable control.
Use personal protective equipment to protect people from harm.