Workplace Hazards and Controls

Creating a safety program is the foundation of a safety culture in the workplace. You will need to include how to identify, control and eliminate hazards. There are five basic types of hazard controls included in the chart below.

How to control hazards: 

  • Elimination – physically removing the hazard.
  • Substitution – replacing the hazard. 
  • Engineering controls – isolate workers from the hazard. 
  • Administrative controls – scheduling tasks to limit exposure to the hazard. 
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – According to CCOHS, PPE is equipment worn by a worker to minimize exposure to specific hazards.
Graphic by CCOHS

The most common PPE: 

  • Clothing for skin protection (Chemical Suite, Flame resistant, High-Visibility, Chemical Scrubs, etc.) 
  • Earmuffs, ear plugs – for ear protection 
  • Face masks & respirators – for lung protection
  • Footwear – for foot protection  
  • Gloves – for hand protection 
  • Hard hat – for head protection
  • Safety glasses & shields – for eye protection

Safety practices reduce workplace hazards, help to keep workers safe, and increase workplace productivity. A hazard free workplace is a safer and more comfortable workplace for workers. It is much easier to implement new safety controls in a work environment that promotes the safety of its workers. The use of PPE is the first level of hazard control, but should not be the only one. 

When to use PPE:

  • Part of short-term hazard controls.
  • If other controls are not available.
  • Part of the hazard controls program, with the implementation of other controls.
  • In an emergency.
  • Part of PPE requirements when using a hazardous substance.

Some industries use PPE more than others. Healthcare professionals use various types of PPE such as; gloves, gowns, goggles, masks, safety glasses with side shields, shoe covers, etc. because of the high risk of disease transmission. Construction workers are exposed to many health and safety hazards, and the most common PPE they use are; earplugs, gloves, hard hats, protective clothing, safety glasses and safety shoes/boots. Manufacturing, forestry, mining, and other skilled trade workers are also at high risk of hazards. They use most of the PPE similar to construction workers. 


Definition of PPE 

By Gabriela Mancas, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant

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