The control of risks is necessary to prevent accidents and ill health and may be required by legislation. To enable this to be done, risk assessments are carried out and then suitable control measures are implemented to deal with the risks. This is a requirement of safety management systems.DE-HOFTOREN-THE-HAGUE-Installation-of-external-panels1


A recommended hierarchy of the general principles of prevention is:

  • Avoid risks (e.g. do work different way)
  • Evaluate the risks that cannot be eliminated by carrying out risk assessments
  • Combat risks at source ( e.g. if steps are slippery it is better to clean them than put up a sign)
  • Adapting the work to the individual, i.e.
  1. Design of workplaces
  2. Selection of work equipment
  3. Selection of working methods
  4. Selection of production methods
  5. Alleviates monotonous work
  6. Avoid piecework
  • Adapting to technical progress
  • Implement risk prevention measures to form part of a coherent strategy covering:
  1. Organisation of work
  2. Working conditions
  3. The environment
  4. Social relationships
  5. Influencing factors relating to the working environment
  • Giving collective protection measures (e.g. reduce noise at source rather than issue ear defenders)
  • Ensuring that workers whether employees or self employed understand what they must do
  • Promote a positive safety culture



Remove the hazard completely from the working environment where possible, although this is not always practical.


Reduce the hazard to an acceptable level by substituting with something less hazardous of reducing the strength of hazardous material or reducing the quantity in use.


Enclose the hazard so there is no interface between people and the hazard e.g. fitting guards.


Control the numbers at risk by systems of working or by engineering methods, limit the hazard generation level, e.g. permit-to- work systems and fume extraction.


Issuing of Personal Protective Equipment to minimize the risk of injury although, this must always be a last resort.


Self discipline in following safe procedures or management discipline by enforcing standards of operation.

NOTE: It should be recognized that actions 1 to 4 above can prevent or minimize the risk of accidents by tackling the original hazard but 5 and 6 only limit the effects of an incident (provided the workforce co-operate and act accordingly) and are considered precautionary methods.

(Get the full part of this NEBOSH syllabus from the November 2015 issue of Safety Messenger Magazine)

Author: SubEditor

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