3 Steps of a Risk Assessment
- Identify the hazards.
- Assess the risks.
- Implement the appropriate control measures using the hierarchy of controls.
Image description: Hierarchy of controls diagram indicating the most effective to the
least effective control measure: elimination, substitution, engineering controls,
administrative controls, PPE
Not all control measures are equally effective.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the "last resort" and is considered the
least effective level of control.
PPE controls hazards at the worker level.
Image description: Icons of a hardhat, N95 respirator, earmuffs and earplugs,
safety glasses and over-the-glasses safety glasses, gloves, and boots
Note that personal protective equipment:
- Is worn by a worker to minimize exposure to specific hazards. PPE does not
remove the hazards nor guarantee complete protection for the worker.
- Must be fit to the worker. One size may not always fit all. Consider
the diversity of your workforce.
- Requires proper storage and maintenance. Workers must also receive
education and training to use PPE.
- Can be specifically required by law.
- May, in rare cases, conflict with human rights protections. If this happens,
the employer should approach the issue collaboratively with the worker
to seek a reasonable solution.
If other control measures provide sufficient protection, PPE may not be necessary
unless specifically required by law, although it can be used as an extra layer of protection.