Hierarchies of Hazard Control: A Proposal to Resolve Different Lists
Authors: Roger C. Jensen
Abstract: This paper reviews the historical roots of attempts to establish a hierarchy of hazard control, points out that these lists have converged into a suboptimal standard hierarchy, and proposes an alternative approach. The failure to converge stems from attempting to first categorize risk-reduction strategies, then assuming the categories fit into a priority order reflecting most effective to least effective. The proposed solution distinguishes priority categories from risk-reduction strategies. The approach uses three priority categories: (1) eliminate the hazard, (2) use engineering controls, and (3) use administrative methods, while a second list identifies nine risk-reduction strategies that map to the priorities. The first priority category has one risk-reduction strategy: eliminate the hazard. The second priority had five strategies: moderate the hazard, avoid releasing the hazard, modify release of the hazard, separate the hazard from that needing protection, and improve the resistance of that needing protection. The third priority category has three strategies: help people perform safely, use personal protective equipment, and expedite recovery. The risk-reduction strategies within a priority category are neither in priority order nor exclusive options for addressing a particular hazard.
Keywords: Risk-reduction Strategies, Risk-reduction Priorities, Hazard Control Hierarchy
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