Control banding is a rather powerful tool. Although nobody understands the term Control Banding, it can be describes as: an approach to exposure control using a tool designed by occupational hygienists and toxicologists to enable users of chemicals, using readily available information about the chemicals and the workplace, to rank hazard and assess risk’. ‘Depending on level of risk users are directed to control solutions provided in a series of control sheets, or to seek specialist advice’ (Zalk, 2005).
Control banding is a qualitative tool, using the same steps as more traditional occupational hygiene strategies; where you measure exposures, compare the outcomes with for instance exposure limits, and finally control the levels of exposures to acceptable levels. In Control Banding the same strategy is followed, only using so-called banding principles to assess hazards and exposure scenario’s, and to decide appropriate control strategies. Although the Control Banding tool has received criticism (see for instance Kromhout, 2002; Swuste et al, 2004), the focus on controls, without a lot of expert input, is a strong point of the tool and makes it applicable in branches and countries, which are deprived of expert support.