Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Engineering Controls

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls consist of equipment or machinery that reduce employee exposure to harmful agents. Engineering controls, when feasible, are considered the first line of defense for avoiding exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Examples of engineering controls are safe needle devices or lab equipment like sealed centrifuge rotors. Biosafety cabinets are used in labs  working with human blood or OPIM.

Brooms and dust pans, and grabbers for picking up contaminated items or rams for compressing trash are considered engineering control since they are equipment that can provide separation from contamination. Mops used for wet cleanup  methods can also be considered engineering controls.

Refer to NIOSH Publication No. 2000-108: NIOSH Alert: Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings or NIOSH  Safety and Health Topic: Bloodborne Infectious Diseases HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B Virus, and Hepatitis C Virus for guidance  in  selecting safer needles.   NIOSH estimates that 62-88% of needle injuries could be prevented by use of safe needle  devices.

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