What types of controls will reduce hazards?
The OSHA Regulations and University Policy require that hazards are controlled so that hazardous workplace exposures can be minimized. Each hazard identified must be evaluated to determine proper controls. As much as possible, the hierarchy of controls should be followed. First, eliminate the hazard if at all possible. If it is not possible to eliminate the hazard, utilize engineering controls, followed by administrative controls to reduce the risk of exposure. As a last resort, utilize personal protective equipment to provide immediate protection at the worker level.
- Engineering control examples used in the University include chemical fume hoods, biological safety cabinets, interlock systems, automated systems, etc.
- Administrative control examples include safety rules and enforced safe work procedures, training, lock-out tag out processes to de-energize equipment prior to working on it, immunizations, etc.
- Personal protective equipment examples include gloves, goggles or safety glasses, hearing protection, steel-toed shoes, lab coats, etc.
How are the proper controls determined?
When selecting controls, staff members are involved in the process of identifying hazards and recommending controls. For each hazard identified, discuss the various types of controls to be used, keeping in mind the hierarchy of controls. Employees are involved in the identification of hazards and the selection of control options.
What is the employee's role in controlling hazards?
Employees play a vital role in hazard control. Employees are involved in the formal hazard assessment process by identifying hazards associated with tasks they perform, as well as identifying controls.
Employees are involved with the selection of controls, including personal protective equipment. In addition, employees are held accountable for using the designated controls.
EH&S has developed a number of programs to control recognized hazards and to meet regulatory compliance.
What if the employee chooses to not use a control? Are employees able to sign a waiver that would hold the University not responsible if an injury occurs?
The University cannot waive its responsibility to provide appropriate controls to prevent or reduce exposure to hazards. Using the designated controls is not an individual choice, but a University requirement. If a staff member chooses not to use a designated hazard control, he or she will be subject to disciplinary action.
What should an employee do if they believe the available controls are inadequate?
If an employee believes the available controls are inadequate, they should discuss this with their supervisor, or with the EH&S department.