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Hazard Controls

Worker in PPE

Recognize-Evaluate-Control (REC)

This approach to managing hazards is designed to reduce the risk of illness, injury, and death in the workplace. The first step is to survey your work area, equipment used, and tasks performed, and identify existing or potential hazards. This may include using checklists, involving a consultant, or relying on the knowledge and experience of farm managers, supervisors, and workers. Each hazard should be reviewed to determine the risk involved, and what solutions or controls may eliminate the hazard, control access to the hazard, or reduce exposure to it. As a last resort, the use of personal protective equipment should be considered.

All serious hazards should be addressed immediately. Avoid selecting controls that may directly or indirectly introduce new hazards. Examples include exhausting contaminated air into occupied work spaces, or using hearing protection that makes it difficult to hear backup alarms.

Managing the risks associated with your work is a shared responsibility.  Laws, training, and workplace policies are only a  small part of what makes a workplace safe. We encourage each of you to be innovative as you work with each other, your supervisors, and senior managers to create a safe and healthful workplace.  Ask questions, talk openly, and share your ideas and solutions with each other.

Hierarchy of Controls graphic

Hierarchy of Controls

Elimination of a hazard is completely removing the hazard so that it does not pose an issue. Examples include:

  • Getting rid of old machinery or equipment which is not properly guarded, or cannot be guarded for some reason
  • Relocating elevated work to ground level so that exposure to a fall is removed
  • Removing snow, ice, or mud from walking surfaces
  • Is the task or process necessary?


damaged drill

Substitution involves replacing the hazard with a non-hazardous option. Examples include:

  • Using water instead of a hazardous chemical for cleaning
  • Painting with a brush instead of aerosolized spraying
  • Using a less hazardous chemical for a hazardous one
  • Automated mixing instead of manual methods
box of spray cans

Engineering controls isolate people from the hazard so that injury or illness is not possible. Examples include:

  • Machine guarding
  • Guardrails
  • Hole covers
  • Ventilation
PTO guarding

Administrative controls do not remove the hazard, but rather reduce the likelihood of serious injury or exposure by changing the way people work around the hazard. It may not reduce the risk to an acceptable level, and additional means such as personal protective equipment may be necessary. Examples include:

  • Reading and following manufacturer's instructions on machinery and equipment
  • Use of warning signs or markings
  • Safe work practices or procedures (ex. ladder safety, animal handling)
  • Back up alarms on heavy equipment
  • Safe distances from the hazard
  • Address hazardous energy sources before performing servicing/maintenance activities or entering confined spaces
  • Check the air before entering confined spaces 
Person walking a horse

Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects the worker from the hazard and/or minimizes the severity of injury or exposure. It is worn by the worker, and the degree of protectiveness can vary due to factors such as proper use, cleaning, maintenance, or design limitations. Examples include:

  • Protective headwear
  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Face shields or welding helmets
  • Respirators and dust masks
  • Flame-retardant jackets or sleeves
  • Gloves
  • Chaps and shin guards
  • Slip-resistant footwear or steel-toed boots
  • Use of seatbelts
person in muck boots