Hierarchy of Controls



Level in Hierarchy

Description

Strengths

Limitations

Examples

Eliminate hazard

After MSD hazard is identified, the best solution is to eliminate it.

  • Effective and no further action is required
  • May not be possible
  • Powered roller conveyor instead of carrying boxes

Substitute hazard

The hazard can be substituted with another approach that creates smaller MSD risks

  • Can be almost as effective as elimination
  • Substitution may still have risks of MSD
  • Ceiling lift for patients in hospital instead of manual transfer BUT high loading on shoulders to push lift with the patient in it.

Engineering controls

Design of the physical workplace to reduce MSD hazards by machinery, tools or equipment

  • Effective long-term controls
  • Used by all workers
  • If installed and maintained, sustainable control of exposure to hazards
  • May appear expensive compared to administrative controls
  • Changing tools or modifying power or hand tools>
  • Removing obstructions or adding adjustability

Administrative controls

Changes to work organization such as

  • work hours
  • breaks
  • job rotation
  • A wide range of controls is available
  • May not require physical changes to the workplace
  • Resources required for adherence
  • Training and retraining
  • Break scheduling shown to be effective for MSD prevention

Training and awareness

Designed to change a workers’ knowledge or behaviour such as

  • hazard awareness training
  • training in work methods
  • Hazard awareness and knowledge are required under some legislation
  • Ongoing costs associated with training
  • Ongoing costs of providing PPE
  • Resources required for monitoring  adherence
  • "Lift Training” or “Job rotation” not shown to be effective for MSD prevention
  • Training in the USE of a specific control is critical for their effectiveness in MSD prevention (and safety)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Barriers between the individual and the hazard that are worn by a worker

  • Considered cheap
  • Requires little change to the workplace or work organization
  • Ongoing costs for new PPE
  • Resources required for adherence to wearing PPE
  • Many types of PPE not even shown to be effective for MSD even under good conditions
  • Only some anti-vibration gloves and knee pads shown to be effective
  • Back belts” not shown to be effective as a general workplace control



                    



MSD prevention site factsheet

What's New?

Welcome to the BETA site for the new MSD Prevention Guideline. We are working hard to develop it further. Look out for videos of MSD Hazards, sections on MSD Controls and for case studies.


GO

MSD prevention site factsheet

Introduction Factsheet

Download the factsheet introducing the new MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario.



GO

Sad Face Icons

Success Stories

Read success stories and case studies about preventing MSD. These stories may apply to your workplace and help you make the right decision. 

GO


Question mark

Frequently Asked Questions

There are lots of myths about preventing MSD at work. With good information and actions, MSD can be prevented

GO

Click to view page content references


DISCLAIMER: CRE-MSD receives funding through a grant provided by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.


Workplace Solutions to Back Pain, Shoulder Tendinitis, Tennis Elbow & Other Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD):
Search Icon