Engineering controls

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Engineering controls are strategies designed to protect workers from hazardous conditions by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard or by removing a hazardous substance through air ventilation.[1][2] Engineering controls involve a physical change to the workplace itself, rather than relying on workers' behavior or requiring workers to wear protective clothing.[3]

Engineering controls is the third of five members of the hierarchy of hazard controls, which orders control strategies by their feasibility and effectiveness. Engineering controls are preferred over administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) because they are designed to remove the hazard at the source, before it comes in contact with the worker. Well-designed engineering controls can be highly effective in protecting workers and will typically be independent of worker interactions to provide this high level of protection. The initial cost of engineering controls can be higher than the cost of administrative controls or PPE, but over the longer term, operating costs are frequently lower, and in some instances, can provide a cost savings in other areas of the process.[4]

Elimination and substitution are usually considered to be separate levels of hazard controls, but in some schemes they are categorized as types of engineering control.[5][6]

The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health researches engineering control technologies, and provides information on their details and effectiveness in the NIOSH Engineering Controls Database.[4][7]


See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

  1. ^ "NIOSH Directory of Engineering Controls". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2016-06-13.
  2. ^ Roelofs, Cora (1 January 2007). Preventing Hazards at the Source. American Industrial Hygiene Association. pp. 9ff. ISBN 978-1-931504-83-6.
  3. ^ "Hierarchy of Controls" (PDF). U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  4. ^ a b "Hierarchy of Controls - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2017-01-30. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "Hazard Identification, Elimination and Control". Health Sciences Association of Alberta. Archived from the original on 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  6. ^ Nix, Doug (2011-02-28). "Understanding the Hierarchy of Controls". Machinery Safety 101. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  7. ^ "Engineering Controls Database". U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Archived from the original on 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-01-30.

Further reading[edit]