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The benefits of a Job Safety Analysis

job hazard analysis
Image: Steve Debenport/iStockphoto

A Job Safety Analysis “helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation,” the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety states.

When a JSA is conducted, every basic step of a job is analyzed to identify potential hazards. This helps determine the safest way to perform work tasks. Conducting a JSA, the center says, can be done in four basic steps:

Select the job. When deciding which jobs to perform a JSA on, consider a number of factors, including incident frequency and severity, the potential for serious injuries when performing the job, and how newly established a job is. Newer jobs may result in more injuries because of inexperience. Additionally, CCOHS points out that infrequently performed jobs may pose greater risks because workers may not be as skilled at doing them.

Break the job into steps. Most jobs can be described in fewer than 10 steps (if not, consider breaking the job into two separate JSAs). These steps should be listed in sequential order. Have an immediate supervisor observe the task being performed under regular conditions. The supervisor should be experienced and capable of performing the job. However, it should be made clear that “the job, not the individual, is being studied in an effort to make it safer by identifying hazards and making modifications to eliminate or reduce them,” CCOHS notes.

Identify potential hazards. Once basic steps have been outlined, identify potential hazards for each step. (It may be necessary to observe the task being performed again.) Potential questions a job analyst may find useful include:

  • Can a worker’s body or clothing get caught in or between objects?
  • Do tools, machines or equipment present any dangers to the worker?
  • Is the worker, at any time, able to make harmful contact with moving objects?
  • Are slips, trips or falls a concern?
  • Is excessive noise or vibration present?
  • Might the worker experience a strain from lifting, pushing or pulling?
  • Are workers exposed to dusts, fumes or vapors?

Determine preventive measures. The first step of this final stage is to try to eliminate any hazards identified by choosing a different process, modifying an existing process, or modifying or changing equipment or tools. However, if the hazard can’t be eliminated, it needs to be contained via “enclosures, machine guards, worker booths or similar devices,” CCOHS says.

Next, the center recommends the supervisor consider changing the sequence or steps, or adding steps that may be useful. Finally, CCOHS suggests reducing the exposure. However, “these measures are the least effective and should only be used if no other solutions are possible.”

Lastly, share the findings and recommendations with all workers who will perform the job.

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