5.5. Administrative Controls

This is the “next best” strategy, if engineering control methods are insufficient. Since we can’t get rid of the hazard in a JHA step, we’ll need to manage exposure to it with safety precautions.

Why are administrative controls lower on the hierarchy of controls? To work, administrative controls must rely on appropriate human behavior.

According to Arthur Bloch’s Murphy’s Law – Book Two, “any system relying on human behavior is inherently unreliable.” That’s the problem. Humans can be rather unpredictable.

“Administrative controls work as long as employees behave.”

Note: Administrative controls may also be referred to as “work practice” controls in safety-related literature.

In a best case scenario, you might be able to eliminate the need for administrative controls if hazards can be eliminated through the use of engineering controls. The more reliable or less likely a hazard control method can be circumvented, the better. Bottom line: If you can get rid of the hazard, you don’t have to manage exposure!