Last week we offered some videos to introduce you to the topic of Job Hazard (or Job Safety) Analyses (JHAs or JSAs). This week, we are going a little more in depth as to what a JHA is, and what it can do for you.
OSHA defines a JHA as “a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment.”. The purpose of a JHA is to prevent hazards that can cause harm to employees as they perform their tasks. In the General Duty Clause (29 USC 654, found here. OSHA puts the responsibility of preventing hazards onto the shoulders of employers. How do you, as an employer, do that? How do you prevent hazards and make a workplace safe?
One tool in your toolbox is to use a JHA. There are times when an employer, or a hiring contractor, will require to see a JHA for an upcoming project. What the hiring contractor is asking for is a methodical, step-by-step breakdown of tasks that determines what the hazards are, and lists what controls will be implemented to prevent those hazards from causing harm to your employers. It is a list of what you will do to make your employees safe.
Do JHAs need to be completed for every job that you might be asked to do? You may not need to do a JHA for every task. For example, you may not need to do a JHA for something that your employees have done thousands of times, or something where the potential hazards already have controls in place. But some jobs or tasks may be more complicated. We are talking about jobs that might be described by the following list:
- Jobs identified with a high frequency of injury or illness.
- Jobs with a potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness.
- Jobs in where human error could lead to a severe incident.
- New jobs that employees have not performed.
- Jobs that have recently undergone changes in processes and procedures.
- Complex jobs that require written instructions
Before you start on a JHA, what things should you consider? In our experience, some of the more effective JHAs have involved these things:
- Involve the employees who have done or will be doing the work. This will help you to minimize potential oversights, ensure a quality analysis, and allow your employees to “buy in” to the solutions as they have the opportunity to share ownership in their safety and health program.
- Review any recent incidents. These are indicators that any potential existing hazard controls may not be adequate and deserve more scrutiny.
- Conduct a preliminary job review, reviewing any known hazards and considering the methods of controls you can use to eliminate or control those hazards. Discuss with the employees the hazards they know exist in their current work and surroundings.
- Consider potential hazards and what the consequences of those hazards might be. Consider potentially contributing factors. Contributing factors are those things that may be partially responsible for or may add to the potential for harm to the employee.
It is important in thinking about hazards and the controls to use to prevent or lessen the hazard to consider the Hierarchy of Risk Treatments. We discussed this in our safety tip on March 20th. Here’s a link for your convenience.
We’ll get a little more specific about how to complete a JHA next week.