Administrative Controls

Administrative controls are modifications or changes to work practices or behaviours in order to reduce the severity or impact of a hazard. This category of control relies on worker compliance and does not offer permanent solutions to controlling hazards in a workplace.

In the hierarchy of controls, administrative controls rank fourth—below engineering controls and above personal protective equipment (PPE)— in terms of offering an efficient and effective solution to hazard control. Administrative controls should be used only after elimination, substitution and engineering controls have been considered/implemented.

Administrative controls include the following:

Safe Work Practices

A safe work practice is a written method that outlines how to conduct a task safely or how to work with specific hazardous materials safely. A safe work practice may also be called a program, best practice, code of practice, etc. Examples include:

HSE Safe Work Practices List

A safe work practice differs from a safe operating procedure (SOP) in that the latter should be customized to the specifics of your work environment and team. You may need to reference numerous safe work practices in order to create an SOP that is specific to tasks in your workplace.

Safe Operating Procedure Template

Safe Work Practices (for animal use)

An animal safe work practice describes the minimum health and safety infrastructure and operational practices for research involving animals. These SWPs are intended to assist researchers with the HSE portion of the animal use protocol (AUP) application and to simplify and expedite the process.

Animal SWPs are intended for Principal Investigators (PIs) and their research personnel.

Get Started

  1. Read the introductory document, How to Use Animal Safe Work Practices .
  2. Select the SWPs that are appropriate to your research.
  3. Review the SWPs with research staff.
  4. Complete a hazard assessment for your project based on information provided in the SWPs.
  5. Create SOPs for your work using information provided in the SWPs.
  6. Attach your hazard assessment and SOPs to your AUP application.
Working Alone Protocol

A working alone protocol is required by Part 28 of the Occupational Health and Safety Code  under the following circumstances:

  • An individual is working alone.
  • Assistance is not readily available.

A working alone protocol may be required in a home office if the above criteria are met.

A working alone protocol requires workers to:

  1. Identify working alone hazards.
  2. Set controls.
  3. Tell coworkers about the protocol.

Review the resources below to determine if they apply to you:

Codes of Practice

A code of practice is generally legislated by the government and created to set safe work practices for a specific hazard. HSE or Facilities & Operations has prepared the following codes of practice:


Scheduling can be used as an administrative control to reduce the amount of time that a worker is exposed to a hazard. For example:

  • Scheduling maintenance work in the evening or on weekends ensures that fewer workers will be exposed to related hazards. 
  • Job-rotation or work-rest schedules can limit the time a worker is exposed to a substance.

Education and training are key mechanisms to ensure that workers have learned about workplace hazards and how to limit personal exposure. Workers and supervisors should conduct a training need assessments together to determine training requirements and verify competency before work begins.

HSE offers numerous courses and other tools in support of training and competency requirements. 

Environment + Safety Training

Emergency Preparedness

Strategies for emergency readiness or preparedness can help to avoid or minimize injuries and property loss.

Emergency Preparedness + Response

Signage + Documentation

Warning signs and labels help to alert workers of hazardous conditions that exist in the space. For example, laser signage on entryways warn of hazards used in the space and PPE that is necessary for entry. Similarly, hazard labels on chemical containers help to warn users of the dangers of that particular substance.


All locations that house hazardous materials must have hazard signage on the door to the hallway. Signage illustrates what hazards are in a space and what PPE is required. In an emergency, first responders may also rely on signage for contact information and to understand the hazards in the space.

To create, print, and update hazards signs, follow these steps:

  1. Register in the HSE database: To register your research group in the HSE database, follow the step-by-step instructions in the applicant manual .
  2. Print your hazard signage: If your group is currently in the database, you can print your own hazard signage. Follow the instructions in the applicant manual  to print signage.
  3. Hazard signage should be printed in colour. If your group does not have access to a colour printer, contact us at and HSE will print a colour sign for your group.
  4. Update signage as hazards change. Once you have amended the information in the database, print new signage as soon as possible.

If you will be working with lasers or x-rays, additional signage may be required.

Nuclear substances, X-rays + lasers

Preventative Health Measures (immunizations, monitoring, etc.)

Preventative health measures are important mechanisms to prevent illness or serious injury that could be associated with exposure to hazards. HSE offers the following preventative health services:

  • Health assessments related to pregnancy or change in immune status.
  • Personal radiation monitoring (dosimetry).
  • Post-exposure response planning.
  • Reporting and tracking laboratory-acquired infections.
  • Vaccination consultation.

Medical Surveillance

Housekeeping + Maintenance

Good housekeeping, regular inspection and upkeep of equipment is an important part of controlling exposure to workplace hazards.

Inspections + Maintenance