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Job Safety Analysis

Workplace incidents that result in injuries and illness are often preventable. Job Safety Analysis (JSA) provides a process to pinpoint the potential risks associated with specific tasks and implement controls to protect employees from harm. When it comes to job safety, JSA is a reliable framework for reducing hazards throughout the workplace. Let’s explore how proper implementation of Job Safety Analysis can transform risk management in your organization.

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What is Job Safety Analysis (JSA)?

Job Safety Analysis, also known as Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), is a systematic procedure used to identify potential hazards of specific job tasks in order to reduce risk. It examines each step involved in a job, identifies any existing or potential safety and health hazards, and develops solutions to control those hazards. The terms JSA and JHA are often used interchangeably.

JSAs are an important component of occupational safety and health programs. They help safety managers proactively evaluate tasks for any risks, put preventative measures in place, and promote a culture of safety in the workplace. JSAs are important for inspections, accident investigations, and other safety analysis methods.

The Importance and Relevance of JSA in the Workforce

A robust job safety analysis significantly contributes to creating a safe work environment. It helps organizations to develop a safety program and perform regular safety inspections, which improves safety performance. Plus, it serves as a training tool that helps new employees get familiar with their job roles and the safety measures required to avoid hazards.

What Is the Purpose of Job Safety Analysis?

The main purpose of conducting a JSA is to identify and assess hazards on the job and find ways to control those risks to protect employees. Some specific objectives of a JSA include:

  • To systematically break down job tasks into steps and examine each step for any associated hazards. This allows safety issues to be pinpointed.
  • To evaluate potential injury or accident risks. The severity and likelihood of each identified hazard are ranked so preventative measures can be prioritized.
  • To develop solutions and procedures to eliminate hazards or control them. This is done by implementing engineering, administrative, PPE, or other controls.
  • To promote proper job procedures and safe work practices for employees. JSAs inform training programs and safe operating procedures.
  • To meet regulatory compliance for safety management programs mandated by OSHA and other bodies. JSAs are a key component of these regulations.

Who Is Involved in the Job Safety Analysis Process?

Conducting a thorough JSA relies on input throughout the organization:

  • Management: Management provides the necessary resources and sets the overall safety policies for the organization. They participate in JSA sessions and meetings as needed. Management should reinforce the importance of following new safe job procedures resulting from the JSAs.
  • Safety Managers: Safety managers lead the entire JSA process, including identifying high-risk jobs that need analysis, assembling the JSA team, supervising the analysis sessions, documenting the findings, and communicating results.
  • Supervisors: Supervisors contribute their firsthand knowledge of the job tasks being analyzed. They help pinpoint hazards based on their direct field experience and provide input on potential solutions and controls. Supervisors also reinforce any revised procedures with employees following completion of the JSA.
  • Employees: Employees performing the actual job provide their invaluable expertise by participating directly in JSA sessions. They report any hazards or issues they have encountered and provide suggestions on mitigation methods and improved procedures. Employees play a key role in adhering to any new controls implemented after the analysis.
  • Subject Matter Experts: Subject matter experts like industrial hygienists, ergonomists, personal protective equipment specialists, engineers, and other professionals contribute specific technical knowledge related to the hazards and controls being considered in the JSA.
  • Health and Safety Committee: The health and safety committee helps coordinate the overall JSA program across the entire organization. They provide guidance to the safety manager on which jobs should be prioritized for analysis based on risk profiles.

Getting involvement from all relevant stakeholders helps make JSAs robust, effective, and acceptable. Diverse perspectives from employees throughout the organization enrich the hazard identification and problem-solving process.

What Are the Steps Involved in Conducting a Job Safety Analysis?

When conducting job safety analysis, there are a few key steps in the process that should always be observed. The key steps involved in properly carrying out a job safety analysis are:

Select Job to be Analyzed

When selecting which job tasks should be prioritized for analysis, consider factors like past injury rates, new or altered jobs, infrequently performed jobs, and inherently hazardous jobs. Examine injury and illness records to identify problem jobs with higher incident rates. New jobs or those undergoing procedure changes also need proactive analysis before issues arise.

Jobs performed very infrequently or jobs involving many complex sub-tasks may need refreshing through an updated JSA even without recent incidents. High-hazard operations like working from heights also demand periodic re-analysis. Consult operations leaders, supervisors, frontline employees, and the safety committee to gain consensus on the highest-risk jobs based on company incident trends and concerns.

Break Down the Job into Steps

Clearly document every task, step, or procedural sequence involved in the job from start to finish. Be thorough and specific when choosing the order of the steps. Avoid documenting steps too broadly, which may cause hazards to be overlooked. Be sure to call out unique tasks like cleaning equipment or checking settings, which might get omitted under broad steps.

Photographing or filming the job in action aids the breakdown of steps. Observe multiple iterations of infrequent jobs to fully grasp the sequence. If needed, discuss with employees performing the job to gain their detailed understanding of the steps.

Identify Hazards for Each Step

For each step listed, think about what can go wrong or what the hazards are based on close examination and subject matter expertise. Consult lists of common hazard categories relevant to the industry, like chemical exposure, noise, repetitive motion, struck by objects, falls, etc., and cross-check for applicable risks. Use historic company incident data to reveal hazards associated with past injuries related to the job. Get input directly from employees doing the job to uncover hazards they may have encountered firsthand.

Determine Preventative Measures to Control Hazards

For each identified hazard, evaluate the most effective controls to eliminate or mitigate the risk based on the hierarchy of:

  1. Engineering controls to eliminate the hazard through equipment or process redesign
  2. Administrative controls to reduce exposure through safe work procedures, training, signage, etc.
  3. Personal protective equipment to protect the worker as a last resort

Consider best practices, industry standards, expert guidance, and employee ideas when selecting controls. Account for costs, benefits, and impacts on productivity.

Document the JSA

Record the sequence of steps, identified hazards, and chosen preventive measures in a standardized Job Safety Analysis form. Take supporting photos or videos as needed. Have subject matter experts and experienced employees review draft JSAs to validate all hazards have been captured and appropriate controls selected. Finalize JSAs and obtain management approval as an official documented risk assessment.

Communicate Results

Share relevant findings from completed JSAs with employees through safety meetings, manuals, posters, videos, and one-on-one coaching. Provide required training on new procedures, hazard controls, equipment, and PPE resulting from the JSA. Document employee training. Management must demonstrate a commitment to implementing JSA results through direct, frequent communication and leading by example.

Methodically following these in-depth steps will produce high-quality job safety analyses that improve hazard awareness and safety procedures.

How to Identify Hazards in Job Safety Analysis

Identifying hazards is the most critical aspect of the JSA process. The goal is to recognize all potential hazards that may lead to an accident, injury, or illness if not controlled. Here are tips for effective hazard identification:

  • Inspect the job area/equipment and directly observe tasks in action to gain awareness of hazards.
  • Use checklists of common hazard categories to spur evaluation like noise, chemicals, electricity, repetitive motion, lifting hazards, etc.
  • Refer to company incident records to identify hazards linked to past injuries.
  • Get input from employees performing the job for a valuable frontline perspective.
  • Consider hazards that may arise due to equipment failures, process deviations, human error, PPE issues, and other variables.
  • Maintain an open mind and avoid taking past success as a sign that hazards are not present.
  • Document hazards using descriptive terms like “exposed electrical terminals” rather than vague labels like “electrical hazard.”
  • Classify hazards by injury type, like struck by an object, sprain, or electric shock.

Some examples of specific hazards include unguarded machinery, slippery walking surfaces, unmarked chemicals, poorly designed workstations, repetitive arm motion, excessive noise, and flammable materials. Identifying even low-probability hazards is crucial for overall workplace safety.

What Constitutes a Hazard in a Job Environment?

A hazard can be anything that poses a threat to safety or health in a work environment. Physical hazards might include dangerous machinery with insufficient guarding and chemical hazards like toxic substances. Environmental hazards and extreme temperatures are also potential threats.

Potential hazards can also take the form of auditory or visual threats, like excessively loud noises or poor lighting conditions. Hazard identification is the first step in a robust job safety analysis.

Information about these hazards can be gathered through an examination of the work procedure, consulting employees, examining accident and ill health records, or observing the work environment.

What Are the Benefits of Implementing Job Safety Analysis in the Workplace?

Regularly conducting and updating JSAs provides real benefits to workers and employers, including:

  • Preventing workplace injuries, illnesses, and incident costs through proactive risk analysis and mitigation
  • Promoting a culture of safety and accountability at all levels of the organization
  • Improving compliance with occupational health and safety regulations to avoid violations
  • Reducing operational downtime and productivity loss from incidents
  • Enhancing workforce morale and retention through demonstrated commitment to employee safety and health
  • Demonstrating due diligence in safety management to external parties like regulators and investors
  • Providing standardized safety documentation that communicates proper procedures
  • Identifying opportunities to implement new technologies or techniques to improve safety
  • Ensuring continuity in safety practices when experienced employees leave and new hires enter a job
  • Collecting data that supports safety program metrics and aids continuous improvement

Properly utilized JSAs provide evidence that adequate measures have been taken on the company’s part to assure health and safety in the workplace.

What Are the Challenges in Conducting Job Safety Analysis?

While the benefits of job safety analysis are many, it can present some challenges. Employee resistance, resource limitations, the perceived complexity of the process, and the difficulty in defining clear and effective safety measures can be barriers to success.

However, these challenges can be overcome with good leadership, clear communication, adequate training, and partnering with a trusted safety and occupational health partner like Amerisafe Group, the process more navigable and comfortable.

Role of Ongoing Training and Updates

Ongoing safety training is important for improving hazard identification and risk mitigation. As risks change over time, training workers on the latest best practices in JSAs ensures the analysis remains robust and effective. Updating JSAs regularly and disseminating the findings through training closes the loop, enhancing workplace safety.

Encourage Feedback

Encouraging feedback from all employees is crucial to continuously improve safety performance. Employees offer valuable insight into job tasks, which, when applied to a job safety analysis, can result in more accurate and useful JSAs. This inclusive approach to safety analysis also cultivates a positive safety culture, where every team member feels invested in the process of identifying and mitigating risks.

More Information and Resources About Job Safety Analysis

For those interested in gaining further knowledge about Job Safety Analysis, many resources are available:

  • OSHA’s Hazard Identification Training Tool offers detailed guidance on conducting JSAs
  • The National Safety Council provides helpful primers and checklists on implementing JSAs
  • The American Society of Safety Professionals allows access to authoritative papers and publications on JSAs
  • Professional development courses like the JSA Certification Program furnish in-depth training opportunities
  • Podcasts like Safety FM regularly discuss practical tips related to JSAs and hazard control
  • Hazard Analysis Techniques like “What If” Analysis and Hazard and Operability Study (HAZOP) provide complementary approaches to JSAs
  • Talk to peers in other organizations to compare notes on how they execute and apply their JSA processes.

With proper understanding and application, job safety analysis can significantly transform an organization’s safety culture and performance. Applying lessons learned from JSAs truly helps prevent accidents and save lives.

Safety Consulting from Amerisafe Group

Amerisafe Group helps organizations achieve workplace safety excellence through data-driven safety consulting services and access to proven methodologies. Our certified safety experts provide guidance on implementing core programs like Job Safety Analysis using a systematic, evidence-based approach to identify hazards and control risks. Amerisafe partners with clients to optimize safety management systems, ensure regulatory compliance, embed a culture of safety, and reduce incident rates. By leveraging Amerisafe’s objective insights and the latest safety research, companies can move beyond basic compliance to proactive risk mitigation, operational resilience, and world-class safety performance. If you’re interested in safety consulting for your business, contact us today.

FAQs

JSA stands for Job Safety Analysis. It’s a technique used to identify potential hazards for a specific job or task so that appropriate preventative measures can be implemented. The goal of conducting a JSA is to minimize the risk of injury to workers by proactively analyzing the steps involved in a job, identifying any dangers associated with each step, and determining safe procedures and proper protective equipment to address these dangers.

The key steps in a job safety analysis (JSA) are: 1) Selecting the job to be analyzed. This is typically a job that presents safety concerns. 2) Breaking the job down into discrete steps. The goal is to identify every step needed to perform the job. 3) Identifying potential hazards associated with each step. Consider safety issues related to the work environment, equipment, materials, process, and potential human error. 4) Determining preventive measures to mitigate the hazards. This may involve changing work processes, using different equipment, implementing training programs, or employing protective equipment. 5) Documenting the JSA. This provides a baseline for training workers, improving procedures, and ensuring a safe workplace. 6) Reviewing and updating the JSA periodically. This ensures it remains relevant as processes, equipment, or materials change.

OSHA does not necessarily require JSAs but encourages their use as an effective tool to identify and control workplace hazards. JSAs can help satisfy the general duty clause that requires employers to provide a safe workplace free from recognized hazards. While not mandated, JSAs are considered an industry best practice, and many companies choose to implement them as part of their safety programs.