What are Examples of Engineering Controls?

When looking at the hierarchy of controls, you will see that engineering controls are the middle (or third) option. To put it simply, engineering controls are when people (or equipment) are physically separated from the hazard. 

One of the simplest examples of this would be when a machine’s motion creates a location where someone would be crushed if they were standing in it when the machine is engaged. An engineering control would be to build a wall or other barrier around the hazardous area so that people cannot enter it. 

Most people see various types of engineering controls in their normal day-to-day activities. If you are driving down a highway, you have likely seen barriers between the traffic lanes that are going in opposite directions. This barrier is an engineering control that helps to prevent cars from entering oncoming traffic lanes. 

Engineering controls should only be used when the two options that are higher on the hierarchy of controls are either impossible or not fully effective. The two higher options are elimination and substitution. Engineering controls should be considered before moving on to the two lower options on the hierarchy, which are administrative controls and personal protection equipment. 

There are many times when engineering controls are the most effective way to keep people and equipment safe within your facility. By physically stopping a hazard from occurring, you can effectively prevent many different types of accidents and injuries from being possible in the first place. 


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