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Conducting A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

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OSHA Safety Signs Best Practices Guides

Written by Steve Hudgik

What Is A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)?

A job hazard analysis is a safety method that identifies job hazards by breaking a job down into its component tasks.  Each task is studied to identify potential hazards. This is done by looking at what the worker does, what tools they use, what the work environment is like, and what actions the task requires.

Once hazards are identified, appropriate steps are taken to eliminate the hazards, reduce them, guard against them, or provide equipment to protect workers.

Why Is A Job Hazard Analysis Important?

Over three million workers were injured or had their health negatively impacted at work in 2010 and there were 4,547 fatalities. A Job Hazard Analysis is a tool you can use to help reduce these numbers. Workplace injuries, illnesses and health problems can be reduced by understanding the causes of accidents and taking steps to address those causes. One of the best ways to identify safety problems  and established corrective measures is to conduct a Job Hazard Analysis.

Not only does a JHA improve employee safety, a safer workplace also helps the bottom line. Improved safety reduces workers’ compensation costs and increases productivity. A JHA is also a valuable tool for guiding development of new employee training.

For a Job Hazard Analysis to be effective, management must demonstrate that it is committed to safety.  Appropriate resources must be dedicated to safety and health, including both the financial budget and allocation of man-hours.  Management must follow through to ensure uncontrolled hazards are corrected and necessary safety supplies are provided.  Appropriate changes to work procedures, processes, and administration must be approved and implemented.  If a JHA is completed, and nothing happens, management will lose credibility and employees may hesitate to report safety and health problems in the future.

What Type Of Jobs Should Job Hazard Analysis Focus On?

The safety of nearly any job can be improved by a Job Hazard Analysis. However, you want to put your effort where it will do the most good. Priority for conducting a JHA should be directed toward:

  • Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates
  • Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if the job has no history of previous accidents
  • Jobs in which one error could lead to a severe accident or injury
  • Jobs that are new to your business or jobs that have changed
  • Any jobs that are complex enough to require written instructions

How To Get Started

  1. Involve your employees in the JHA. To get accurate and useful results, it is important to get input from everyone who does anything related to the job being analyzed.  They are the ones who best understand the job.  By involving everyone you'll have job experts whose knowledge can help find potential hazards.  You'll minimize oversights, ensure a quality analysis, and involvement brings worker “buy in” to the solutions because they will have participated in the process.
  2. Start by reviewing your workplace's accident history. In particular look for records of  accidents and occupational illnesses that needed treatment; losses that required equipment or tool repair or replacement; and any near misses.  A near miss is an event  in which an accident or loss could have happened, but did not.  A near miss is an indication that the existing hazard controls or safety measures are need to be examined and possibly improved.
  3. Next move from looking at your overall facility to examining a specific job. Ask workers to identify hazards they already know exist. Brainstorm with them to get ideas for eliminating, guarding or controlling those hazards.
  4. If a hazards exists that is an immediate danger to life or health, take immediate corrective action.  If needed, shut down the process or machine until the hazard is eliminated or corrected.

    If a hazard presents an unacceptable risk, take the steps necessary to mitigate and eliminate the hazard.  Don't wait for the JHA to be completed.

    If a hazard exists that can be corrected easily, correct it as soon as possible. Do not wait to complete your job hazard analysis.   Taking immediate action demonstrates your commitment to safety and health. When workers see action resulting from their input, they'll be motivated to provide more feedback and identify other problem areas.

  5. List hazardous jobs in order by the degree of hazard.  Establish priorities for doing a JHA for the most hazardous jobs.
  6. Begin the Job Hazard Analysis by watching the employee perform the job and listing each step as the worker performs that step. Be sure to record enough information to describe each job action, but don't   get overly detailed.  What you are looking for is to record the basic steps involved in performing the job.

Workers should be made aware that you are evaluating the job itself, not the employee’s job performance.  Workers should perform their job as they normally do the job.

It be useful to get input from other workers who have done the same job.

Once the steps involved in the job are recorded, review then with the worker(s) to make sure you have not omitted something.  Include the workers in all phases of the analysis—from reviewing the job steps and procedures to discussing uncontrolled hazards and recommended solutions.

Sometimes, in conducting a job hazard analysis, it may be helpful to photograph or videotape the worker performing the job. These visual records can be handy references when doing a more detailed analysis of the work.

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How Are Workplace Hazards Identified?

A Job Hazard Analysis is like investigating a mystery. Your goal is to discover the following:

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

To make the Job Hazard Analysis useful, document the answers to these questions in a consistent manner. Describing a hazard in this way helps to ensure that your efforts to eliminate the hazard and implement hazard controls help target the most important contributors to the hazard.

A Job Hazard Analysis Should Describe:

  • Where is the job done? What is the environment like?
  • Who does the job and what are they exposed to?
  • Why did the safety hazard exist (the cause)?
  • What would the outcome of the hazardous condition be?

There is rarely one simple cause of a safety hazard. Hazards typically result from a combination of factors, unexpectedly coming to together at one time. The contributing factors tend to line-up in a way that results in the hazard. This means that you must dig deeper than what appears to be the immediate cause of a potential hazard. Ask, what caused the cause?

The final question is, how can this hazard be eliminated, guarded, or workers protected from the hazard?

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The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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