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Identify and Implement Controls

As a manager, how do I identify what controls are required? 

Once you have assessed the risk associated with the use of chemicals, you are required to identify the control measures necessary to reduce the risks to a reasonable level.

The EU’s Chemical Agents Directive (CAD) recommends following hierarchy of control measures, known as the STOP principle, to prevent or reduce the exposure to dangerous substances.

Where possible eliminate the hazardous chemical and if this is not possible, then utilise the STOP principle:

Hierarchy of Control Measures

Practical Examples


1. Substitution of the dangerous substance with a safer alternative or one in a less hazardous form.   

Using a pellet rather than a powder form of the chemical could have a significant effect on reducing inhalable dust levels.
       Technological Measures 2. Technological measures (or engineering controls) – minimising the concentration of the dangerous substance in the exposure zone.  

E.g. placing a physical barrier (fume cupboards/forced ventilation /scavenging system) between the employee and the chemical.

Where present, they must be regularly maintained to ensure efficiency.

      Organisational Measures

3. Organisational measures (or administrative controls) – minimising the number of exposed workers and/or the duration and intensity of exposure.

Identify aspects of the work practices that maybe altered to avoid exposure.

Minimise employee exposure e.g. reducing the number of employees involved in a task and restricting access to the area where the chemical is being used.

Provide chemical safety training. 

Store chemicals safely.

Implement emergency procedures. 

Provide hygiene arrangements  e.g washrooms/housekeeping and adequate waste disposal. 

Health surveillance as appropriate.

Implement a preventative maintenance programme for engineering controls.


Re: Healthy Workplaces

4.Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used as a last line of defence. It is not regarded as an alternative to other suitable control measures. It should provide adequate protection against the risk from the hazardous chemicals to which the wearer is exposed, for the duration of the exposure, taking into account the type of work being carried out. Wear protective clothing or equipment as identified through risk assessment and where necessary provide appropriate training in its use.

The aim of the hierarchy (above) is to ensure that risks are managed at source and that collective measures taken protect workers in a systematic way. In practical terms, you may have to apply a number of control measures, for example even with engineering controls you may still need to examine whether administrative controls and PPE are also needed.

See "Evaluate and Monitor" for advice on the next stage of the process.