Control Banding-January 2011

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

January 2011

IN THIS ISSUE: Control Banding

Control banding is a process that groups chemicals according to similar physical and chemical characteristics and matches them with controls that prevent harmful exposure to workers.  Control banding can be especially useful for chemicals that do not have occupational exposure limits.  Originally adopted in Europe, the process is based on the idea that, while there are many chemicals, only a limited number of common control measures exist.  

“The fact is that hundreds of thousands of chemicals and mixtures are used in industry, but only a few thousand chemicals have occupational health standards,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of Occusafe, Inc. “Small and medium-sized companies that have a limited ability to evaluate workplace safety and health can use control banding to keep workers safer.”  

How does Control Banding Work? 

First, chemicals are placed in hazard bands based on the following factors: 

  • Toxicity 
  • Ease of exposure
  • Type of work process
  • Duration of exposure 
  • Amount of chemical used in process

Once the hazard band is determined, a control measure is suggested.  The higher the hazard and the potential of exposure, the more comprehensive of a control is needed. For example, skin or eye irritation may only need general room ventilation while severe irritation may require complete enclosure of the process.  For an example of a control banding method visit

Limitations of Control Banding

The process of control banding has not been fully tested and validated, and there is no single method of control banding so each method may have different limitations.  Any control banding method should be evaluated by a safety professional, and the effectiveness of any control measure suggested by the band should be monitored carefully.  Even with control banding, exposure monitoring may still be needed, and for highly hazardous exposures a professional should be consulted.

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or (303) 219-6973 or visit us at

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health.OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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