NIOSH’s Engineering Controls Database

Hierarchy of ControlsThe National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released its new NIOSH Engineering Controls Database which provides information on effective engineering controls.  Searches by occupation or work process will help you find a solution that may work to control exposure to hazardous conditions in your workplace.

The hierarchy of controls shows us that engineering controls can protect workers by eliminating or reducing hazardous conditions to acceptable exposure levels. The idea behind the hierarchy is that the control methods at the top of the graphic are potentially more effective and protective than those at the bottom. Following the hierarchy of controls can lead to safer systems, where the risk of illness or injury has been substantially reduced.

Examples of controls include elimination, substitution, local exhaust ventilation to capture and remove airborne emissions, or machine guards to protect the worker. Well-designed engineering controls can be highly effective in protecting workers. Controls generally do not interfere with worker productivity or personal comfort and make the work easier to perform rather than more difficult. The initial cost of engineering controls can be higher than some other protective methods, but over the longer term, operating costs are frequently lower, and in some instances, can provide a cost savings.

The NIOSH Engineering Control Database contains summaries and schematics/pictures of the controls and details about their effectiveness. The objective of the database is to provide basic information on engineering control technologies as well as deliver information to users who need engineering control solutions to reduce or eliminate worker exposures.

The database contains only previously published material authored by NIOSH researchers. All database entries have been reviewed and edited by subject matter experts for accuracy.