Step 4 - Control the risks

Establish suitable risk control measures for the highest priority risks with reference to the risk assessment. For example, if the assessment finds that poor lighting in the area is a risk factor, then the lighting should be improved as a risk control.

When considering risk control options, it is essential that supervisors and managers consult with workers directly involved in the process. These experienced people typically have good, practical ideas about suitable risk control measures. Gaining their ownership and commitment to the chosen risk controls is also essential to attaining acceptance for the use of the control measures.

The following range of risk control measures should be considered. Known as the "hierarchy of hazard control", these are listed in priority order ie., the most effective is listed first, with less effective options listed lower. The highest practical levels of risk control should be chosen. A combination of higher and lower level risk controls is usually desirable.

Hierarchy of hazard control

  1. Eliminate the hazard or task if the risks outweigh the potential benefits.
  2. Substitute the hazard with something less hazardous eg., substitute a toxic substance with another that is non-toxic.
  3. Isolate the hazard by using barriers or distance eg., put insulation around noisy equipment.
  4. Use engineering controls, such as local exhaust ventilation to remove dust/fumes, or automate the process.
  5. Minimise the size or volume of the hazard and the duration of exposure to the hazard.
  6. Rearrange the work area and work flow eg., have deliveries made to the end-point to avoid re-handling, intersperse repetitive activity with different tasks to avoid overuse injuries etc.
  7. Establish safe work practices, such as restricting access to the area, keeping the area free of clutter, being prepared for emergencies e.g., spills, and prepare and use safe work method statements for hazardous tasks.
  8. Provide training and supervision appropriate to the level of expertise of the personnel involved. As a minimum, this would include familiarisation with local hazards and their control, safe work methods and emergency procedures.
  9. Wear personal protective equipment such as robust footwear, gloves, laboratory coats, safety glasses, ear plugs/muffs, dust masks etc., as a secondary measure to supplement the other agreed risk controls.

The chosen risk control measures should be implemented as soon as possible. Assign responsibility to an appropriate worker and set a due-by date for implementation.

The person responsible for implementing the risk control measures should inform those who were consulted during the decision making process about any subsequent changes to plans and progress towards completion.

Sometimes, the most ideal risk control options may be prohibitively expensive and need to be planned for in the longer term, e.g. in next year's budget. In these cases, short term and medium term risk control measures (implemented within one week and 3 months respectively) should be established for the interim period.

Physical hazards associated with University buildings and grounds should be referred to the Campus Infrastructure and Services Service Desk for resolution.