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Hazard prevention and control
  • Hazards must be identified, controls must be implemented, and the success of those goals must be evaluated for prevention programs to be successful.
  • Hazards may be eliminated through substitutions, workplace/engineering adaptations, and administrative controls.

After the systematic worksite analysis is complete, the employer should take the appropriate steps to prevent or control the hazards that were identified.

To do this, the employer should:

  • Identify and evaluate control options for workplace hazards;
  • Select effective and feasible controls to eliminate or reduce hazards;
  • Implement these controls in the workplace;
  • Follow up to confirm that these controls are being used and maintained properly; and
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of controls and improve, expand, or update them as needed.

In the field of industrial hygiene, these steps are generally categorized, in order of effectiveness, as:

  • Substitution,
  • Engineering controls, and
  • Administrative and work practice controls.

These principles can also be applied to the field of workplace violence. In addition, employers should ensure that, if an incident of workplace violence occurs, post-incident procedures and services are in place and/or immediately available.


The best way to eliminate a hazard is to eliminate it or substitute a safer work practice. While these substitutions may be difficult in some operations, they still should be considered and implemented.

Engineering controls and workplace adaptations

Engineering controls are physical changes that either remove the hazard from the workplace or create a barrier between the worker and the hazard. In facilities where it is appropriate, there are several engineering control measures that effectively prevent or control workplace hazards. Engineering control strategies include:

  • Using physical barriers (such as enclosures or guards) or door locks to reduce employee exposure to the hazard,
  • Metal detectors,
  • Panic buttons,
  • Better or additional lighting, and
  • More accessible exits (where appropriate).

The measures taken should be site-specific and based on the hazards identified in the worksite analysis appropriate to the specific setting. For example, closed circuit videos and bulletproof glass may be appropriate in convenience store, but not at a new vehicle dealership.

If new construction or modifications are planned for a facility, assess any plans to eliminate or reduce security hazards.

Administrative and work practice controls

Administrative and work practice controls are appropriate when engineering controls are not feasible or not completely protective. These controls affect the way workers perform jobs or tasks. Changes in work practices and administrative procedures can help prevent violent incidents.

As with engineering controls, the practices chosen to abate workplace violence should be appropriate to the type of site and in response to hazards identified.