Job Safety Analysis

job-safety-analysisPreparing a job safety analysis is an important part of any facility or safety manager’s job. These reports can be extremely beneficial in identifying what types of risks exist in a specific job, so action can be taken to keep people safe. Once you know the risks, it is much easier to either do something to reduce the risk entirely, or provide employees with things like protective gear to ensure they are safe.

The Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is also commonly known as a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or a Task Hazard Analysis (THA). When done properly they will identify which workplace hazards exist with a ‘possible or greater’ likelihood of occurring. Once identified, steps can be taken to reduce the risk associated with the hazards listed in the analysis. This is required to get the hazards to a point where it is acceptable and in line with the principles of ALARP (As Low as Reasonably Practicable) using a standard hierarchy of control.

According to OSHA’s document on JSA:

Everyone involved in implementing a job or task should be present when the JSA is written! The JSA should be reviewed, approved, and signed by the supervisor before the task is started. Understanding every job step is very important! Whenever a job step changes or a new step is introduced, the JSA must be reviewed and updated.

-OSHA – Job Safety Analysis (JSA) Process

Defining a Workplace Hazard

When creating a Job Safety Analysis it is important to have a good understanding of what exactly a workplace hazard is. The hazard for this report is defined as anything that has the potential to injury or harm. This could be something as simple as a wet floor which can cause people to slip and fall, or something more complex like a machine malfunctioning due to improper maintenance. All potential risks should be analyzed to see if they qualify as a workplace hazard.

Hazards will be classified according to one of three categories, which are types, groups and families. Types of hazards include any hazard to safety (anything that can cause an immediate injury) or hazards to health (anything that can cause harm to a person by exposure over time). The hazard groups are physical object hazards, hazardous work types and duty of care breaches, which can be better understood by looking at the specific ways they are categorized into the group:

  • Physical Object Hazard – This is any object that can cause you harm when you touch or inhale it. Something like sawdust could qualify for this group, and so could large items that could fall on someone. Most commonly thought of hazards will likely fall in this group.
  • Hazardous Work Type – Any type of labor that requires a specific permit, or special training to perform. This could include working with toxic chemicals, or working in confined spaces where cave in or suffocation is a risk.
  • Duty of Care Breaches – These are legislative or company contraventions that constitute a risk.

Finally, the hazard families are the last category. There are many different families, which really help to put different hazards into an easy to understand category. The following are just a few of the many workplace safety hazard families: Physical, chemical, electrical, pneumatic, magnetic, environmental, and biological.

Performing a Job Safety Analysis

A proper job safety analysis will look at one specific job function within a facility at a time. Rather than looking throughout the facility to find all the different hazards, this process will look much more closely at everything an individual does when performing a specific role. This will allow the person performing the analysis to catch many more potential hazards than would otherwise be possible.

For example, when taking an extended period of time to review one job, the safety manager might notice that the job is being performed in an area where they are exposed to higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide. This isn’t hazardous when only exposed for a few minutes, so this type of risk may be overlooked in a normal safety inspection. With the full job safety analysis, however, this would be listed as a workplace hazard, and added to the list of items that need to be addressed in order to remain compliant.

In many cases the job safety analysis can be done with the assistance of someone who performs the job on a regular basis. This will give the individual performing the analysis the ability to get a more accurate picture of what exactly is done in the role.

Addressing Workplace Hazards

Once you’ve completed the job safety analysis, you will be left with a list of different workplace hazards that are putting employees, and the facility as a whole, at risk. It is often necessary to prioritize the list to make sure the most significant risks get fixed first. There are two primary options available when looking to get a workplace hazard off the list.

The first option is to reduce or eliminate the risk. One easy example of this would be if there was a problem with a slippery floor near an entrance where people usually come in through during either the winter or when it is raining. This is a significant risk that can cause a lot of injuries. The best way to fix this issue is to put a floor sign warning employees of the wet area. Another option would be to install anti-slip floor tape to provide traction to the slippery area.

An additional option would be to provide training or equipment to the employees to help further reduce the risk. An example of this would be if there was a risk involved with performing maintenance on a particular machine because it could become activated unexpectedly. Rather than replacing the machine, the facility could implement a lockout-tag out system. This ensures that only the person who is performing the maintenance can actually restore the power, thus keeping the individual safe.

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