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Hierarchy of Risk Control for Contractors

CDM (GB) Knowledge Base

When performing any work, with the avoidance of risk in mind the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that contractors apply the General Principles of Prevention listed in there.

This schedule is adapted by some people to become a 'hierarchy of risk control'. This is a series of steps to be followed when planning work to control risks, and included in the risk assessment.

  1. Consider whether it is possible to eliminate or control the hazard and the resulting risks by planning it out i.e. the use of mechanical means of lifting to eliminate manual handling risks.
  2. Next consider whether the risk can be combated in the design i.e. pre-installation of handrails on pre-cast stairs so that the risk of falls is reduced.
  3. Next consider measures to control risks to all the workers i.e. establish a one way traffic management system on the site for vehicles visiting the site.
  4. Only as a last resort should it be necessary to control risk by means of personal protective equipment.

The risks that remain, which are not reasonably practicable to avoid after the application of the above hierarchy, shall be informed to the workers affected, together with the safe system of work (method statement).

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