What Is a Job Safety Analysis?

A Job Safety Analysis (JSA), also known as a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), is a technique used to examine all aspects of a specific job-related task in order to identify hazards before they cause accidents.

According to OSHA, a JSA must focus on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. After hazards have been identified, employers must then take steps to eliminate or reduce them to an acceptable risk level.

Benefits of a Job Safety Analysis

The purpose of a JSA is to help employers prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. In addition to this, they have a number of direct and indirect benefits, including:

  • Establishing proper job procedures
  • Ensuring that all employees are properly trained
  • Identifying previously unnoticed hazards
  • Reducing workers’ compensation costs
  • Increasing worker productivity
  • Assisting with regulatory compliance
  • Maintaining a healthier workforce
  • Allowing employees to feel better about their jobs

When Should You Conduct a Job Safety Analysis?

You should conduct a JSA for all job roles. OSHA does, however, recommend giving priority to the following job types:

  • Jobs with the highest injury, illness, and fatality rates
  • Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there is no history of previous accidents
  • Jobs where one simple human error can lead to a severe accident or injury
  • Jobs that are new to the company's operations or have undergone changes in processes and procedures
  • Jobs complex enough to require written instructions

How to Conduct an Effective Job Safety Analysis

1. Get Your Employees Involved

Discuss what you are going to do and why. Be sure to emphasize that you are evaluating the job task and not employee performance. Involving employees will provide you with valuable knowledge about the job task while also ensuring a quality analysis

2. Review Your Accident Record

Review the company’s accident history with your employees. This includes injuries, illnesses, and near misses. The information will help you to determine whether or not existing hazard control measures are adequate and which jobs pose the highest risk to your workers.

3. Conduct a Preliminary Job Review

Discuss with your employees the hazards they face in their current job task and work environment. Brainstorm ideas to eliminate or control those hazards.

Additionally, identify the OSHA standards that apply to that job role and be sure to incorporate these requirements into your job safety analysis.

4. Set Priorities

List, rank, and set priorities for hazardous jobs. Hazardous jobs will include all those job types specified by OSHA listed above.

5. Outline the Steps or Tasks

Every job can be broken down into steps. Watch the employees perform each step to see exactly what is involved. Review each step with the employee to make sure nothing was missed or omitted.

The Job Safety Analysis Process

1. Identify the Hazards in Each Step of the Job Task

To do this, consider the following:

  • What could go wrong?
  • How could it happen?
  • What are other contributing factors?
  • What are the consequences?
  • How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

2. Review Identified Hazards with Employees Responsible for Carrying Out the Work

Discuss what can be done to eliminate or reduce these hazards.

3. Correct Unsafe Conditions and Processes

The control measures you use can include:

  • Changes to the equipment used to perform the tasks
  • Improvement to the work environment, such as better lighting and ventilation
  • Changes to the work processes and how the task is done
  • Introducing new PPE or changing the type of PPE currently being used
  • Retraining employees or providing refresher training

(For more advice on controlling hazards, be sure to read The Hierarchy of Hazard Control.)

4. Review the Job Safety Analysis

Once you've conducted a JSA, you should review it:

  • Periodically, as you may discover hazards that you may have previously missed
  • When the job task or process has changed
  • After injuries or near misses

5. Use the Information Obtained

Your JSA not only improves worker safety, but it can provide valuable data. Use that data to improve the way you train employees and conduct accident investigations (learn more in 7 Critical Steps You Must Take When Investigating and Reporting Accidents).

Conclusion

Once you've completed your Job Safety Analysis, you must act on the information you gained from it. It can't simply be done to check off boxes – employers who don't demonstrate a commitment to health and safety by controlling identified hazards will have gone through all of the trouble of conducting a JSA without getting any of the benefits.

So, remember, what makes a Job Safety Analysis effective isn't just what you do during it; it's also the actions you take after it's done.