What sports managers need to know about risk control measures

Fitness & Sport Management Blog

The correct course of action, once a sports manager has identified a hazard, is to make use of control measures. These usually fall into three categories. You can:

  • Remove the hazard
  • Reduce the risk
  • Utilise ‘back-up’ controls when all other options in the prior categories have been depleted.

The most optimal way to control a hazard is to eliminate it. The elimination of a hazard, concerning risk control measures, is the first choice in a system called the ‘hierarchy of controls’.

What is the ‘hierarchy of controls’?

There is an order of importance in hazard control and risk control measures:

  • Remove the hazard from the workplace altogether. This is the safest way to control a risk. An example of elimination is to take away a noisy machine from a peaceful area.
  • Substitute or change the hazard by substituting it with something less dangerous, for example, by using paint that does not contain asthma-promoting agents.
  • Cut off the hazard by actually removing it from the workplace or by sealing off the area in which a machine is utilised.
  • Make use of engineering methods in order to control the hazard at its source. Tools, as well as equipment, can be redesigned or enclosures, guards or local exhaust ventilation systems can be used to close off the cause of a hazard.
  • Utilise administrative controls. These are management strategies that can be introduced to ensure the health in addition to safety of employees. Managerial procedures can lessen contact with hazardous equipment as well as processes by reducing the period of exposure, for instance, by job rotation or adjusting the time when a particular method is performed.
  • Establish personal protective equipment (PPE) as an interim measure in order to reduce exposure to a hazard.

Risk control measures to eliminate risk

When no hazard exists, no risk of injury or illness exists. For example:

  • Remove trip hazards in a cluttered corridor
  • Dispose of unwanted chemicals
  • Eliminate hazardous plant or processes
  • Repair damaged equipment promptly
  • Increase the use of email to reduce excessive photocopying and collation
  • Ensure new equipment meets the ergonomic needs to users

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Risk control measures to minimise risk

Here are examples that a sports manager can apply to his or her environment, of what these measures must include.


If it is not feasible to remove the hazard, replace it with something – preferably of a lesser risk – which will still satisfactorily perform the same task. For instance:

  • Replace a hazardous chemical with a less dangerous one
  • Telephone handsets with headsets where there is the frequent use of telephones
  • Substitution of a less harmful material in order to control a vapour hazard
  • Replace a smaller package or container in order to lessen the risk of manual-handling injuries, for example, back strain


Change the plant or system of work in order to reduce hazards. For example:

  • Redesign pant to reduce noise levels
  • Use a scissors-lift trolley to reduce bending while lifting
  • Connect forced ventilation in photography darkrooms in order to remove vapours


Isolate the issue from staff. This is often carried out by making use of separate, purpose-built rooms, barricades or – alternatively – sound barriers. This results in moving the hazardous process away from the key work area to a place where emissions may be controlled. For example:

  • Isolate and store chemicals by correctly using a fume cupboard
  • Isolate copying equipment as well as other machinery in soundproof rooms in order to reduce fumes as well as noise
  • Make use of security measures in order to protect staff

Engineering controls

If you cannot eliminate a hazard or make a substitution to remove it, then reduce the chance of hazardous contact. Redesign equipment, work processes or tools to reduce or eliminate the risk.

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