Job Hazard Analysis: Make them work for you

We are back to writing our blog after a summer hiatus (well, and finishing up a couple of big projects).

We often have companies ask about Job Hazard Analyses (JHA).  First, what it is: whether you call it a JHA or Job Safety Analysis (JSA) it is a process of breaking down a job by the most simple tasks and identifying the hazards with each task.  That is the first part.  Then, looking at each task, identify the potential hazards.  Lastly, identify ways to control those hazards.

We’ve found JHAs, in the traditional sense, work fine in manufacturing settings where tasks are repeated over and over.  For example, putting a part into the machine, close the machine, run the machine, wait for gate to open and remove part, …

The basic framework of task, hazard, and precaution can be used for any job, but you may not want to break it down as far.  For example, driving. Driving becomes the task.  What are the hazards: distraction, slips getting in or out of a vehicle, backing, ergonomics/strain if driving long distances, being hit, hitting something, and so on.  Then, for each of those items identify the precautions: no talking on your cell phone, no checking emails or texting, no eating or smoking while driving, wear your seatbelt, exit the vehicle with both feet on the ground, check conditions around you, use a spotter if you cannot see behind you, etc.  You may even want a separate column just to list personal protective equipment needed for the job.

JHAs can be very time consuming, so prioritize the jobs or tasks that need that kind of evaluation.  You may prioritize based on injuries, near mis-haps, employee concerns or new tasks where you want to identify hazards and any personal protective equipment up front.

If you want to learn more, OSHA has a whole booklet on JHAs:

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