Job Hazard Analysis
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Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is the process of taking a close, critical look at each step of a process or operation with an eye toward identifying and correcting the hazards or potential accidents in each step. It’s a simple technique which creates a “buy-in” on the part of people doing the job and ensures that they will do the job the same way….and safely….each time.
A JHA can also be conducted as part of the planning for a new job or process. Prospective operators can sit in a planning session with engineers, designer, technical staff (e.g., safety, environmental, occupational health), and supervisors to talk through how a new operation should work. This can eliminate the hazards before the cost of development makes it much more expensive and it gives clear work steps for use in debugging and training.
The benefits of a JHA of existing jobs are many:
- Many accident-causing hazards are eliminated.
- It provides a standard, written, carefully considered, safe directions for how to do the job for use in job orientation/training.
- It allows for refresher instructions on infrequent/periodic jobs.
- Workers, teams, and supervisors know better how the total job is done.
- Job methods improve, efficiency increases, quality is enhanced…and costs drop.
- The operator is kept closely involved in safety.
Before the JHA is started, decide who’s going to be involved. Ideally, all those involved with the job should work together on the project so that there is comprehensive input and complete buy-in. If that is not possible, be sure that those doing the job at least have the opportunity to provide input and review. Click on this link to access the Murray State University Job Hazard Analysis format.
STEP ONE: Select the job. Don’t make it too broad (e.g., make a desk) nor too narrow (e.g., pushing a button). Those suitable would be those a line supervisor would normally assign. Priority should be given to those with the worst accident record, those which tend to produce disabling injuries, ones with a high severity potential, and new jobs.
STEP TWO: Break the job into successive steps. Describe concisely what is being done. Pick an operator who is experienced and cooperative to help and tell him/her that the objective is to study the job, not the individual, to make it safer for them. Work through the process, asking the operator what he/she does next and why. Record the observation in the left-hand column of the attached form using action words (lift, pull, close) and tell what object is receiving the action (lever, cover, arm). Finally, check with the operator to be sure that the steps are correct and in the right order.
STEP THREE: Identify the hazards in each step of the process. Can anyone be caught in, on, or by the objects? Can they slip or trip? Is straining possible? Are there environmental hazards? Is layout or placement a problem? Are tools and equipment adequate and in good repair? Will a change in one step create a hazard in another? Once the hazards are identified, check again with the operator and anyone else familiar with the job.
STEP FOUR: Eliminate the hazards. Find creative and effective ways to eliminate the hazards and prevent the potential accidents. Find a better way to do the job. Start with the goal of the job and work along several routes to the goal finding the one which is not only the safest, but the most economical and practical. Change the physical conditions which create the problem….move something…change a work height…replace a guard. Change the job procedure. Have the job done less frequently if exposure is a problem (especially in maintenance operations). As with the previous steps, check solutions with the operator. Watch him/her in operation and carefully evaluate whether the steps and actions match the completed JHA. At this stage, it might also be helpful to record the steps on video for use in future training.
Once the JHA is complete, use it, and don’t just file it away. If possible, post it on the job, such as near the operator controls. Make it an integral part of the job write-up. Review and update it periodically, perhaps each year. Consult with others whenever an accident occurs on a JSA-covered job and either revise it or insure that the correct procedure is being followed.