Workplace Safety Should Be More Than Just PPE
“Engineering controls” means that the employer attempts to remove the hazard from the workplace. For example, any time you replace a hazardous chemical with a non-toxic, less caustic, or otherwise inherently safer alternative, you are engineering out the hazard of the chemical by removing it from the workplace.
Lastly, before considering PPE, come administrative controls. While safe work practices are a type of administrative control, the term also includes any other measure that reduces employee exposure to hazards. For instance, maybe you have noise-producing machinery. You may decide that in addition to relocating the noise-producing machine away from the employees (engineering controls) and instructing employees not to approach the noise hazard unless required (safe practices), to also rearrange work schedules to reduce the time each worker spends in the noisy area and/or to implement a maintenance schedule (proper maintainence reduces the noise levels). These last two are examples of non-work practice administrative controls.
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Use this guide to help meet your OSH Act responsibilities to provide a safe, healthy workplace during a public health crisis.