03/26/2004

Workplace Hazards: A Threat to Workers' Senses

A recently published article discusses the possibilities of protection against
workplace hazards. Workers depend on their five senses--sight, hearing, smell,
taste, and touch--to keep them alert to their surroundings and to any danger
present. It's important to note that four of the five sense organs are housed
in the head. The brain (the organizer of all that data collected by the senses)
is also located there.

There are effective ways to keep this vital body part safe from workplace
hazards. Many employers assume, incorrectly, that personal protective equipment
(PPE) is the only way to reduce hazards. However, an employer should first use
engineering and administrative controls before, or in addition to, protecting
employees with PPE.

The author discusses briefly these three hazard control methods and gives
examples for solutions: engineering controls, administrative controls, and
PPE.

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls are the first step in effective hazard control. They
eliminate or reduce exposure to a hazardous chemical or a physical hazard
through the use of (or substitution of) some type of engineered machinery or
equipment. Simply put: Engineering controls remove, reduce, or eliminate the
hazard at the source.

Administrative Controls

Administrative controls are the second tier in the hierarchy of hazard control.
When engineering controls don't eliminate the hazard, try using administrative
controls.

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment, such as respirators, hearing protection,
protective clothing, safety glasses, and hard hats, is acceptable as a control
method in the following circumstances only:

  • When engineering controls are not feasible or do not totally eliminate
    the hazard;
  • While engineering controls are being developed;
  • When safe work practices do not provide sufficient additional protection;
    and
  • During emergencies, when engineering controls may not be feasible.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Stevenspublishing