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What constitutes an exposure control method?

Employees need to be protected from any potential risk whilst at work. And, this is especially the case if they work with dangerous substances or contaminants. Thus, employers should assess the risk of any work task that an employee might do as part of his or her duties and put into place appropriate control measures to limit the risk to acceptable levels.

Controlling risk involves not just using the right type of equipment, which is of course essential, but also involved should be the introduction of good work practices to reduce exposure. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) should always state the equipment that should be used to do the task properly and the right method to carry out the procedure. This might mean sending staff on training sessions to make sure they are aware of the risks, or at least some form of instruction or supervision when carrying out the task.

Here are some ways to control exposure to employees:

• Use a safer substance rather than the one currently being used

• Use a different type of the same substance e.g. a solid rather than a liquid

• Change the process to limit the use of the substance

• Enclose the area where the harmful substance is contained e.g. use bunded oil tanks

• Keep spill kits or hazard control kits near the dangerous substance

• Always provide the right type of personal protective equipment

Previous article Understanding Requirements for Hazardous Substances: Prevention, Storage, and Clean Up

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