How to Conduct a Job Safety Analysis for Your Workplace

A job safety analysis (JSA) helps employers create safer work environments for their employees. It includes incorporating health and safety practices on the job.

The JSA also identifies potential hazards and risks. Then implements recommendations to make those parts of the job safer.

In many cases, employers use the JSA in other aspects of the job that don’t necessarily include safety. Those are called total job analysis.

The total job analysis makes health and safety part of every job instead of being looked at separately. If you want to know exactly how to incorporate JSA’s into your workplace, keep reading.

This article will give you a clear guide to conducting one today.

The Benefits of a Job Safety Analysis

JSA’s are important to everyone on the job. The process drives important communication between supervisors and lower level employees.

During the analysis, previously undetected safety hazards can come to light. This will help everyone on the team become more knowledgeable and aware.

Tasks that one person performed alone may end up requiring two people. Precautions that were previously set aside can now become part of standard practice.

Because everyone will end up working together to improve health and safety procedures, JSA’s often become accidental team-bonding exercises. The findings from a JSA can also be implemented into training for new employees and a refresher for seasoned workers.

Steps to Completing an Effective Job Safety Analysis

Identifying potential hazards so that tasks are performed with employees’ safety in mind sounds great, right? But what exactly does that entail?

A JSA can be performed in several different ways. And what works for one company may not work exceptionally well for the other.

This guide will show you some basic JSA procedures that can be used across various industries. And don’t forget, there is room for customization to make sure you and your employees are getting the most from it.

First Step, Decide Which Job(s) Need a JSA

At the beginning of your JSA process, it’s important to understand which jobs need to be reviewed. During this step, you should also be thinking about tasks that aren’t performed often where employees tend to need refreshers.

Other job functions you should be thinking about are ones that require the use of new equipment, raw materials, and even animals. This step is especially critical when you don’t have much time or resources to dedicate to the JSA.

According to OSHA, JSAs should be performed at the worksites where:

  • The illness and injury rates are the highest
  • There’s a possibility of injuries that result in disability, death, or serious illness
  • Human error can cause injury
  • New or complex changes have been made to the job process
  • There are multiple steps and employees use written instruction manuals

Even if you don’t have an opportunity to look at the company as a whole, at least the riskiest jobs will be investigated by using this method.

Second Step, Find Out What Each Task Entails

The way you perform this second step can vary depending on how hands-on you typically are. Some bosses are in the trenches and know the exact procedures workers are following while others will require a bit more assistance here.

In order for the JSA to be accurate, you need to break down certain job functions into sequenced steps. These will identify the methods used to complete a task.

Utilize employees who perform these tasks often. They can help you identify hazards by explaining some of their individual experiences. Most of the time an employer won’t know about a small injury like a minor cut that just required a band-aid or a fall where the employee quickly got up.

If anything like that has happened in the past, this is the time for you to find out about it to help make the tasks safer. The last thing you want is to wait for a more serious injury to occur.

This step should be broken down into two sections. One where you speak with the employees about these experiences.

The second is where you should observe them while performing these job functions. During your observation, you should note areas where a safer alternative should be implemented.

You should be watching to make sure there aren’t any missed or forgotten steps too. This includes things during the cleanup or set up stages that might seem minor.

Third Step, Identify Specific Hazards

Don’t feel weird about watching an employee complete the same task a few times. You want to make sure you aren’t missing anything while you’re identifying potential hazards in the workplace.

You should also reserve time to ask questions after the observation. Maybe bring the employee you’re watching to your office to go over some of the job functions while everything is still fresh in both of your heads.

Things you can ask yourself and your workers during this step are:

  1. Are there gaps in any equipment or machinery where clothing or body parts can get pulled or snagged?
  2. What are the risks of falls, slips, or trips?
  3. Should more than one person be completing this task?
  4. Are any toxic chemicals or substances present? This includes radiation and electrical hazards.
  5. Does the employee have to strain excessively from lifting, pushing, or pulling?

These questions are just examples you should use as guides. They should be altered based on the industry you’re working in.

Additionally, this is a great chance for your employees to speak up about their own concerns. They are most likely doing the tasks in question more often than you are. Their insight is going to be your most valuable resource.

Fourth Step, Set Preventive Measures

Now that you know the risks and hazards employees are facing, it’s time to do something about it. The preventive measures you set in place should be based on your findings from the first three steps above.

For instance, if an employee is completing a task where they frequently climb onto a high ladder, you might want to have them use a coworker as a spotter. If chemicals are present, you should invest in appropriate safety gear like masks, goggles, or gloves.

Here are a few general rules of thumb for prevention:

  • Elimination- Get of the hazard
  • Substitution- Replace it
  • Control- Update procedures and protocol
  • Protection- Make sure employees are properly using safety equipment

Depending on your industry, there’s software that can help you with your risk management. These resources will help plan and track safety precautions, allowing room for corrective action.

Fifth Step, Document JSA Results

This step should be completed once everything else pertaining to the JSA is done. The documentation should be within every employee’s reach.

Consider posting it in a common place like the break room. And publish a new and improved employee handbook with the information in it as well.

Employees need to have their job hazards and the preventive measures you are taking to keep them safe within their reach. Oftentimes, the JSA and all the hard work put into it is forgotten about within a few weeks. This includes the new procedures that were set in place because of them as well.

Employees should also undergo training once new procedures are set in place. The training should be well documented as well.

If by any chance an employee has a serious accident that results in a hospital visit or disability, not having adequate training or documentation that easily accessible can set you and the company up for liability issues or even lawsuits.

Continued JSA Training

A JSA isn’t a one and done type of process. Even if you don’t hire new employees who require training, your existing employees should be involved in an ongoing job safety training program.

Setting up a mandatory annual training will keep these practices fresh in everybody’s mind. Be sure to include some kind of a written exam to make sure everyone is still on top of important performance strategies.

Your JSA documentation and training literature should also be updated if you make changes within your company. These changes will include creating a new job that requires things like a new piece of machinery or responsibilities.

You should also make updates when there’s a change in location. Location changes can eliminate old risks and also add new ones.

Job safety is always the employers’ responsibility. Keep yourself updated on laws and changes. You can also read more on the topic here.

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