Control of Infectious Diseases

To help determine what actions, processes and precautions to include in a control plan, workplace health and safety professionals may consider a system called the Hierarchy of Hazard Control or “Hierarchy of Controls.” This system identifies options based on their level of effectiveness. The health and safety professional’s goal is to identify the most effective yet practical means to control the risk.

Elimination and Substitution: Elimination and substitution (physically removing or replacing the hazard) are the most effective controls. They are also the most difficult to implement or simply may be impractical. 

Engineering Controls: Engineering controls seek to isolate people from the hazard or remove it before it comes in contact with the worker. Isolation is an example of an engineering control. It is frequently used for infectious aerosols or airborne diseases such as tuberculosis. To prevent the spread of disease from the isolation area, engineering controls such as barriers are used as well as special ventilation. 

Administrative Controls: These are changes in the way work is done. Some examples include changing procedures or implementing new ones, employee training, and installing signs and warning labels. Administrative controls do not remove hazards. Instead, they limit exposure or reduce exposure through behavior changes and hazard awareness. 

PPE: Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes gloves, protective clothing, hardhats, safety glasses, safety footwear, and respirators. PPE is frequently used where hazards are not particularly well controlled