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How to Conduct A Job Safety Analysis

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A Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is the process of describing the individual steps a job requires, and eliminating any hazards that might be present while performing those steps. Conducting a JSA is an integral part of workplace safety. Performing the JSA accurately and comprehensively will help your workplace avoid preventable accidents and injuries.



WHAT IS A JOB SAFETY ANALYSIS?

A job safety analysis (JSA) has two main goals:

  • identify workplace hazards
  • eliminate or control workplace hazards once identified

This process must be completed for every job in your workplace, and written procedures that identify job steps and hazards must be available to all workers. The findings of a job safety analysis can help supervisors implement important changes to their safety program and help their workplaces stay as safe as possible. A commitment to eliminating risks protects workers and helps businesses operate ethically and efficiently.

SELECTING JOBS FOR A JSA

Each job in a workplace should be considered separately. A JSA should provide specific, complete instructions for safe operation. Jobs with a high frequency of injuries or a high risk of severity of injury should be selected first.

HOW TO ANALYZE A JOB

To analyze a job for safety, each job should be broken down into a series of simple job steps. To determine the steps of each job, the job safety analyst should carefully observe experienced workers performing the job under normal conditions. Videotaping the job being performed is a good way to clearly document each required step. The Job Safety Analyst should also discuss the steps of the job with experienced employees who can describe the how they perform each step. An experienced employee may also be able to suggest ways to eliminate unnecessary steps or combine steps into a more efficient action. These two methods, careful observation and employee interviews, should be the primary sources used when breaking a job down into simple steps. Referencing the manufacturer’s instruction manuals is also a good supplementary source of information.

Each step should be described by a simple action verb, so that employees understand precisely what they must do. Examples of phrases using simple action verbs are “Pull lever,” or “Turn arm leftwards.” Avoid general language like “Be careful,” or “Pay attention,” which might distract from the required action. Each step should clearly state what needs to be done, not how to do it. The steps should be listed in the order in which they are performed. If possible, limit the number of steps to ten or less.

DESCRIBING HAZARDS

Once each step has been determined, the next step is to list all hazards associated with each step. Tools, the workstation, the work environment, and surrounding activities can all pose hazards. As in the previous section, it is important to ask experienced workers what hazards they experience and what precautions they are currently using to avoid incidents. Worker’s compensation forms and incident reports associated with a job are another good way to determine what hazards may be present. Hazards should be listed directly and concisely, and terms should be drawn from industry-standard terminology. For instance, if a worker is performing a task close to moving parts, a hazard could be listed as “caught-between.” The purpose of this step is to clearly list each potential hazard, not to list any solutions. Protective measures are detailed in the final step, controlling or eliminating hazards.

CONTROLLING OR ELIMINATING HAZARDS

The best solution to a workplace hazard is to eliminate it entirely, but this is not always possible. If you cannot eliminate the hazard, look for ways to mitigate the hazard by substitution, engineering controls, or administrative controls. If none of the former methods are possible, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided to employees, so that they can work with hazards safely. PPE should be thought of as a last line of defense, to be used when more preventative measures are not possible. For a more in-depth discussion of PPE, click here. Remember, it is always preferable to eliminate hazards entirely. The list below details ways to control or eliminate hazards:

  • Substitution: An example of this method would be to replace the use of a hazardous chemical with a less-toxic alternative.
  • Administrative controls: Hands-on training and instruction regarding safe work practices, including but not limited to the procedures for the control of hazardous energy and the safe handling of chemicals.
  • Engineering Controls: Engineering controls includes warning signs, guards, and emergency alarm systems.
  • PPE: Examples of PPE include gloves, protective glasses, respirators, hard hats, and non-conductive boots. Employers must provide adequate PPE and proper training in PPE use.

CONCLUSION

A Job Safety Analysis is an essential part of a broad, company-wide commitment to safety. It needs to be conducted for each job in your workplace. It is important to involve workers in the process, to get a strong sense of how each job is performed and to foster a safety-focused workplace culture. For more information, visit: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3071.pdf

For a sample job safety analysis form, visit: https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-...

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