Control Banding

control band hierarchy

Control banding (CB) is a technique used to guide the assessment and management of workplace risks. It is a generic technique that determines a control measure (for example dilution ventilation, engineering controls, containment, etc.) based on a range or “band” of hazards (such as skin/eye irritant, very toxic, carcinogenic, etc) and exposures (small, medium, large exposure). It is an approach that is based on two pillars; the fact that there are a limited number of control approaches, and that many problems have been met and solved before. CB uses the solutions that experts have developed previously to control occupational chemical exposures, and suggesting them to other tasks with similar exposure situations. It is an approach that focuses resources on exposure controls and describes how strictly a risk needs to be managed. NIOSH considers CB a potentially useful tool for small businesses.

Control banding must be used in conjunction with health and safety practices such as substitution. Substitution for a less hazardous chemical is still highly recommended to prevent exposure. It is important to note that Control Banding is NOT a replacement for experts in occupational safety and health nor does it eliminate the need to perform exposure monitoring. CB highly recommends the use of professionals to provide recommendations. The fourth band specifically recommends seeking professional assistance for highly hazardous exposures. Furthermore, CB recommends exposure monitoring to follow the CB intervention to ensure the installed controls are working properly.

International Control Banding Workshops, Symposia, and Presentations

Control Banding: Does the Model Work
Workshop was conducted December 7, 2007. This workshop was presented by the University of Connecticut.

U.S. National Control Banding Workshop
Workshop was conducted March 9-10, 2005. This site contains several presentations that were delivered at the Control banding workshop held in Washington, DC.

The Practical Application in Developing Countries
This report was developed by ILO-WHO/IPCS from a planning meeting on control banding, June 13-16, 2004 in the Netherlands.

Global Implementation Strategy
A report developed by ILO-WHO/IPCS International Technical Group Meeting in May 28, 2004, on the global implementation strategy of the Occupational Risk Management Toolbox.

International Control Banding Workshop
This workshop was conducted March 1-2 2004. This site provides presentations from the Control Banding Workshop, entitled Validation and Effectiveness of Control Banding.

1st International Control Banding Workshop
This two-day workshop was held in London in November 4-5 2002. This site contains outlines and presentations from that workshop

Documents and Publications

Assessing Occupational Exposure to Sea Lamprey Pesticides

(2015) Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of occupational exposures at drycleaning shops using SolvonK4 and DF-2000

(2014) Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of employee exposures during sea lamprey pesticide application

Training Health and Safety Committees to Use Control Banding: Lessons Learned and Opportunities for the United States. Anne L. Bracker, Timothy F. Morse, Nancy J. Simcox. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 6(5), 2009:307-314. Originally published on May 1.

Evaluation of COSHH Essentials: Methylene Chloride, Isopropanol, and Acetone Exposures in a Small Printing Plant. Eun Gyung Lee, Martin Harper, Russell B. Bowen and James Slaven. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 53(5), 2009: 463-474. Originally published on May 12.

Application of a Pilot Control Banding Tool for Risk Level Assessment and Control of Nanoparticle Exposures
Samuel Y. Paik, David M. Zalk, and Paul Swuste. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 52(6), 2008, 419-428. Originally published on July 16.

Stoffenmanager, a Web-Based Control Banding Tool Using an Exposure Process Model
Hans Marquart, Henri Heussen, Maaike Le Feber, Dook Noy, Erik Tielemans, Jody Schinkel, John West and Doeke Van Der Schaaf. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 52(6): 2008:429-441. Originally published on June 27.

History and Evolution of Control Banding: A Review
David M. Zalk and Deborah Imel Nelson. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 5(5), 2008: 330-346. Originally published on May 1.

Control Banding: Issues and Opportunities
A Report of the ACGIH Exposure Control Banding Task Force, Publication #08-001, Copyright 2008.

Evaluation of the control banding method–comparison with measurement-based comprehensive risk assessment.
Hashimoto H, Goto T, Nakachi N, Suzuki H, Takebayashi T, Kajki S, Mori K. Journal of Occupational Health 49(6), 2007:482-92.

Guidance for Conducting Control Banding Analyses
Written by the AIHA Control Banding Working Group, this guide describes key concepts, significant developments, and research needs associated with the practical performance of a control-based approach to identifying and controlling hazardous agents. A comprehensive reference list, study resources, and other helpful aids for conducting control banding analyses are included.

cover page for document 2009-152

Additional Control Banding Links

Several organizations maintain electronic topic pages on Control Banding. Please refer to the following websites for additional information.

AIHA Control Banding Working Group

Canadian Center for Occupational Safety and Health

GTZ Chemical Management Guide for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (Germany)–Practical guide for enterprises on improving chemical management, gaining cost savings, reducing hazards and improving safety

Health and Safety Executive COSHH Essentials (United Kingdom)

Health and Safety Executive COSHH Essentials Spanish (en Espanol) (United Kingdom)

International Labour Organization Chemical Control Banding

International Labour Organization—International Chemical Control Toolkit

TNO/Arbo Unie Stoffenmanager 3.5 (the Netherlands)

NIOSH Contacts

For additional information, contact T.J. Lentz (