Some hazards are obvious–any observer can tell that workers must exercise care and develop safety procedures. And many hazards will be uncovered as a result of a self-audit. Other hazards, however, are less obvious, and are uncovered only by conducting a systematic analysis of the jobs in your worksite, one by one, to identify potential hazards.
Job hazard analysis can be a very important part of your safety and health program. Because of its importance, OSHA has developed a system to help you. In some organizations the process is called Job Safety Analysis (JSA) or Job Safety Practices (JSPs). The material is adapted from OSHA Publication 3071. It explains what Job Hazard Analysis is and contains guidelines for conducting your own analysis on a step-by-step basis. Sample worksheets are included, showing typical completed analyses for different jobs.
What Is Job Hazard Analysis?
OSHA says that Job Hazard Analysis means “carefully studying and recording each step of a job, identifying existing or potential job hazards (both safety and health) and determining the best way to perform the job to reduce or eliminate these hazards. Improved job methods can reduce costs resulting from employee absenteeism and workers’ compensation, and can often lead to increased productivity.”
Important note: the job procedures in this section are for illustration only and do not necessarily include all steps, hazards, or protections for similar jobs in industry. In addition, standards issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should be referred to as part of your overall Job Hazard Analysis. There are OSHA standards that apply to many job operations, and compliance with these standards is mandatory.
Selecting Jobs for AnalysisOSHA suggests that you follow this priority when determining which jobs to analyze first:
Using OSHA’s Violation Statistics
Another source of information about potential hazards is OSHA’s list of citations and penalties which will alert you to problems that are common across the country. See the summary of most frequently violated standards on nearby pages.
Using Other External Sources
Look outside your organization for clues about what hazards you may face. Many industrial organizations, federal agencies, state health and safety organizations, and other groups assemble such information and make it available. Possibilities are:
Using Internal Sources
Internally, you have another set of sources. Being closer to “the action,” your internal sources should pinpoint many specific hazards.
General ConditionsOSHA suggests several sample questions you might ask about the general conditions under which the job is performed. Note that these are just suggestions–you should add more questions of your own having to do with your particular environment.
OSHA also mentions the possibility of taking pictures of a work site for use in making a more detailed analysis. The OSHA suggestions continue with “breaking down the job.”
Breaking Down the Job
“Nearly every job can be broken down into steps. In the first part of the Job Hazard Analysis, list each step of the job in order of occurrence as you watch the employee performing the job. Be sure to record enough information to describe each job action, but do not make the breakdown too detailed. Later, go over the job steps with the employee. Below is an illustration of a worker performing the basic job steps for grinding iron castings.”
“After you have recorded the job steps, next examine each step to determine the hazards that exist or that might occur. Ask yourself these kinds of questions:”
“Repeat the job observation as often as necessary until all hazards have been identified.
Below is the same illustration of the basic job steps for grinding iron castings, with existing or potential hazards indicated.”
Recommending Safe Procedures and Protection
“After you have listed each hazard or potential hazard and have reviewed them with the employee performing the job, determine whether the job could be performed in another way to eliminate the hazards, such as combining steps or changing the sequence, or whether safety equipment and precautions are needed to reduce the hazards.
If safer and better job steps can be used, list each new step, such as describing a new method for disposing of material. List exactly what the worker needs to know in order to perform the job using a new method. Do not make general statements about the procedure, such as “Be careful.” Be as specific as you can in your recommendations.
You may wish to set up a training program using the Job Hazard Analysis in order to train your employees in the new procedures, especially if they are working with highly toxic substances or in dangerous situations. (Some OSHA standards require that formal training programs be established for employees.)
If no new procedure can be developed, determine whether any physical changes, such as redesigning equipment, changing tools, adding machine guards, personal protective equipment or ventilation, will eliminate or reduce the danger.
If hazards are still present, try to reduce the necessity for performing the job or the frequency of performing it.
Go over the recommendations with all employees performing the job. Their ideas about the hazards and proposed recommendations may be valuable. Be sure that they understand what they are required to do and the reasons for the changes in the job procedure.
Below is the same illustration of the basic job steps for grinding iron castings, with recommendations for new steps and protective measures.”
Revising the Job Hazard Analysis
OSHA recommends that Job Hazard Analyses be reviewed and updated on a regular basis for three reasons.