Sometimes referred to as Job Hazard Analysis or by the acronyms JSA or JHA, a Job Safety Analysis is the harmonization of acceptable safety practices and principles with a particular job role, task, or function.
JSA follows a specific set of steps to create an in-depth analysis of how certain functions of a task should be handled due to safety or health concerns. The goal is to break down the specific actions of a task, identify potential hazards, and determine the safest possible way to complete the task.
Each Job Safety Analysis follows a specific process and a report is generated at the end. Let’s take it step-by-step and what you can expect from each one.
Job Safety Analysis Steps
Step One: Select the Job to Be Analyzed
Identifying the jobs or tasks that require a Job Safety Analysis isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Because employees and supervisors alike have limited resources and time, it’s important to prioritize jobs where the most benefit can be gained.
Another consideration is the fact that a Job Safety Analysis isn’t “evergreen;” that is, each JSA will require updating as new equipment, machines, or policies are introduced.
For the best chance of success, it’s important to focus on the most critical tasks first. A good place to start is to examine where safety issues or incidents occur most frequently. Check your safety records to see if certain jobs, functions, or areas in your company manifest themselves as being more at risk than others. Then, examine the specific roles and tasks to see where to start your Job Safety Analysis projects.
A few other criteria to help you prioritize at-risk jobs:
- Jobs with a high illness or incident rate;
- Jobs that are a simple human error away from catastrophe;
- New or recently altered jobs or processes; or
- Complex jobs that require written, detailed instruction.
Step Two: Break Down the Individual Tasks of a Job
Every job, task, or function in your organization can be broken down into individual steps a worker takes to perform their duties. Once you select a job to analyze, you’ll need to observe all aspects of the work being performed.
It’s important not to overgeneralize the steps you observe. Doing so can lead to a lack of sufficient detail, which could neglect to identify possible hazards or safety improvements.
On the other hand, you don’t want to be too specific, either. Identifying too many steps can lead to convoluted information that ultimately becomes hard to use. Most jobs can be described in ten steps or fewer. If more than ten steps are required, you may need to divide the job into two or more segments to keep your JSA simple and understandable.
It’s essential you document the steps in the right order. Mixing up the sequence of events could lead to unidentified or wrongfully identified hazards that will affect the integrity of the JSA.
It’s a good idea to tell the person you’re observing ahead of time that you are performing a JSA and need their full cooperation. Let them know it’s not a personal offense, but rather a way for the company to improve its overall focus on safety. The job, rather than the individual, is the focus of the exercise. Explain the importance of the JSA process and that they should perform their job as normal while they’re being observed.
Once you finish step two, take time to review your recordings with the participants to collect their consensus and ensure that no detail has fallen off the radar.
Step Three: Identify Potential Hazards
This step should be performed as soon as possible after completing step two while the observations are still fresh in the minds of each participant. In some cases, you may find that certain steps of a job need to be repeated in order to collect more data. This should be done immediately so you can move forward with identifying potential hazards.
Your goal is to consider what could possibly go wrong during each step of the job.
It’s not easy trying to pinpoint possible safety issues with each step of a job. When examining each step, you’ll want to ask questions, such as the following:
- What’s the potential for clothing or body parts to become pinched in moving objects or machinery?
- What hazards does the equipment or machine present?
- Is the worker at risk for slips, trips, or falls while performing the task?
- Is the worker exposed to toxins, fumes, or poor indoor air quality while performing the task?
- Is vibration or excess noise associated with the task?
- Is the worker required to lift, push, pull, twist, or bend?
- Are extreme temperatures involved in the task?
- Could there be danger from falling objects?
- Does the task involve handling dangerous chemicals?
This list isn’t intended to be comprehensive, but it should serve as inspiration on what your thought processes should look like when examining all possible scenarios of the job.
List potential hazards next to each step where they apply. Ask for the participants’ expertise and input to generate a comprehensive safety snapshot that can help you know where improvements are most needed. When you have completed this step, meet again with the participants and ensure you haven’t glossed over important details. Before you move on to step four, you should take time to gain consensus on the accuracy of your findings.
Step Four: Develop Ways to Prevent or Eliminate Hazards
To complete your JSA, look over the information you collected in steps two and three and start to develop ways to eliminate or reduce the hazards you’ve identified.
The methods you take to eliminate or prevent hazards should follow this series of prioritization:
- Elimination – This is the most desirable action to take. Eliminating the hazard completely can be done by either changing the process in use, substituting a product, modifying the work environment, or using different tools or equipment.
- Containment – If a hazard cannot be completely eradicated, steps should be taken to restrict the hazard as much as possible. Prevent direct contact with the hazard by using guards, fencing, booths, or similar enclosures.
- Revision – If hazards cannot be eliminated or contained, you may need to revise how the work is performed. Consider modifying the steps taken to perform the job or task, add additional steps to improve safety, or otherwise keep workers away from the hazard.
- Reduction – Limiting the worker’s exposure to the hazard is a viable option when elimination, containment, and revision cannot completely protect the worker. It’s not the most effective solution, but can help to mitigate any potential risk the hazard imposes. You can reduce the exposure to the hazard by reducing the number of times the hazard is encountered, employing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), or installing emergency stations (e.g. eyewash stations or emergency showers).
When describing how to effectively prevent or eliminate the hazard, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Using vague phrases like “take caution” or “be careful” are too general to show what precautions the worker should take. On the JSA report, the prevention methods should be listed in detail next to the corresponding steps and identified hazards.
The above four steps are a lot to process, but each one contributes essential elements to the procedure. Let’s look at what the four steps look like in action.
Job Safety Analysis Examples
Step One: Determine the Job Requiring the JSA
Company ABC decides that a Job Safety Analysis is needed on the way the company performs geotechnical soil investigations. The EHS manager determines that the soil investigations pose a greater risk to workers, which is why the JSA will be performed here first.
Step Two: Document Individual Tasks of a Job
The EHS manager recruits a supervisor that used to conduct geotechnical soil investigations to observe workers and record their observations. The supervisor documents each step as they observe it, then speaks with participants to ensure they’ve collected all necessary steps.
Step Three: Identify Hazards
The supervisor explores each step and identifies potential hazards for each step.
For example, the first step entails finding locations for boring holes. It’s discovered that workers use spray paint for this step, which could expose them to toxic fumes or chemicals. Walking around the job site could lead to slips, trips, or falls. There are also moving vehicles at the job site, which could put them at risk.
Step Four: Eliminate or Prevent Identified Hazards
The supervisor suggests making PPE available for workers using spray paint or other chemicals. Also, they determine that workers should wear reflective safety vests so that drivers can easily spot them on the job site.
The more insight you can provide to your workers in risk-laden activities, the better positioned they are to protect themselves while on the job. Ongoing communication, collaboration, participation, and feedback is required of everyone on the job. In the end, you end up with a safety culture that sets the example of what other companies should strive for.
If you want to see the best results from your efforts, consider using tools like Job Safety Analysis (JSA) software that offers a systematic approach to the process. Software takes you through the creation of a JSA step-by-step. It relies on templates and workflows that make it easier and simpler to take notes, make changes and share your findings with the right people.