Hierarchy of Controls for hazards

When it comes to workplace safety, we're all familiar with the saying, "Prevention is better than cure." But how exactly do we prevent accidents and promote a safer work environment? Enter NIOSH's Hierarchy of Controls, a framework that serves as a roadmap for mitigating workplace hazards. In this blog post, we'll dive into how this crucial concept applies to two essential safety measures: active disinfection systems, such as CASPR's NCC technology, and ballasted, non-penetrating, fall protection guardrail systems. So, let's roll up our sleeves and explore the fascinating world of workplace safety!

The NIOSH's Hierarchy of Controls: A Quick Overview:

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details of active disinfection systems and free-standing, fall protection guard rail systems, let's briefly understand the NIOSH's Hierarchy of Controls. This powerful tool provides a systematic approach to managing occupational hazards, prioritizing control measures based on their effectiveness. The hierarchy consists of five levels, each building upon the previous one:

  1. Elimination
  2. Substitution: This level aims to remove the hazard completely or substitute it with a safer alternative. For example, replacing hazardous chemicals with less toxic ones.
  3. Engineering Controls: Engineering controls involve modifying the workplace or equipment to minimize exposure to hazards. Examples include installing ventilation systems or fall protection barriers
  4. Administrative Controls: This level focuses on changing work practices, policies, or procedures to reduce the risk. For instance, implementing job rotation or creating safety protocols.
  5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE is the last line of defense and involves providing workers with appropriate protective gear, such as gloves, helmets, or masks,

Active Disinfection Systems and Fall Protection Guardrail Systems:   These are specialized engineering control measures we'll be exploring in-depth in the following sections.

Active Disinfection Systems: In the wake of the post pandemic era and with new virus variants not protected by current vaccines, maintaining a clean and safe environment has become paramount. Active disinfection systems, like CASPR's NCC (Natural Catalytic Conversion) technology, are revolutionizing the way we combat airborne and surface pathogens in various settings. This technology utilizes ambient humidity and oxygen molecules to create low levels of vaporous hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a highly effective disinfecting agent, neutralizing harmful microorganisms.

Applying the Hierarchy of Controls to active disinfection systems involves a belt & suspenders combination approach:

  1. Elimination/Substitution:  Active disinfection systems help eliminate the need for constant manual disinfection, thus reducing worker & equipment exposure to potentially harmful and surface damaging chemicals.  Episodic cleaning regiments are required but since surfaces are re-contaminated with hours, continuous active disinfection works between sessions.
  2. Engineering Controls:   These systems are engineered to emit low levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) that are safe for humans but deadly to pathogens, ensuring continuous disinfection without affecting the work environment.
  3. Administrative Controls: Implementing active disinfection systems involves creating protocols and schedules for their optimal usage, ensuring thorough coverage and maximum effectiveness.

Fall Protection Guardrail Systems: 

Working at heights or on roofs can be hazardous, making fall protection guardrail systems a crucial component of workplace safety. These systems provide a physical barrier to prevent falls and protect workers from severe injuries.

Applying the Hierarchy of Controls to fall protection is a straightforward process:

  1. Elimination/Substitution:  Moving equipment needing servicing from areas that require fall protection or other similar measures.
  2. Engineering Controls:  Guardrail systems eliminate the need for workers to rely solely on personal fall protection systems, reducing the risk of human error or equipment failure.
  3. Administrative Controls:  Creating and enforcing safety policies and procedures, such as regular inspections and the use of active fall protection measures when Engineering Controls, like fall protection guardrails, have not been implemented.

Free standing fall protection guardrail system


Understanding and applying NIOSH's Hierarchy of Controls can significantly enhance workplace safety in multiple industries. Active disinfection systems like CASPR's NCC technology and fall protection guardrail systems are perfect examples of how this powerful tool can be implemented to mitigate occupational hazards. By combining the principles of elimination, engineering, and administrative controls, we can create safer work environments and protect the well-being of workers. So, let's embrace the hierarchy and make safety a top priority!

Unraveling the Mysteries: NIOSH's Hierarchy of Controls and its Application in Active Disinfection Systems and Fall Protection Guardrail Systems first appeared on the Dakota Safety blog in August 2023

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