Performing an Effective Job Hazard Analysis2 min read
It is nearly impossible to keep employees safe without fully understanding the hazards and risks they face while completing daily tasks. As an employer, it is your obligation to control known hazards in the workplace in an effort to protect your workers. Conducting a job hazard analysis (JHA) can help you identify known hazards in order to correct potential hazards that could put workers at risk.
A JHA is a formal process that helps to identify hazardous jobs, determine specific hazards within jobs, understand the consequences of those hazards and develop corrective action measures to eliminate or greatly reduce the possibility of an accident or injury as a result of the discovered hazard(s). It is important to remember that a hazard is considered to be anything that could cause harm to a worker. JHAs effectively reduce worker injuries, cut workers’ compensation costs and boost overall morale in the workplace.
How to conduct an effective JHA
The first step of the process is to determine what jobs to analyze first. Look at past accidents, injuries and near-miss logs to point you in the right direction.
Items to consider include:
- Jobs with the highest injury rate
- Jobs with the potential to cause serious injury, even if there is no past history of injury
- Newly-introduced jobs
- Jobs that have had recent changes in procedures
- Complex jobs that require written instructions or formal procedures to complete
- Jobs where one minor error could cause a serious incident
After selecting a job, break it down into individual steps. Make each step descriptive enough to describe the job, but not so complex that there are too many steps. Once the list is complete, look at the steps and assess the potential hazards relating to each. Continue this process for each job.
Things to consider include:
- What could go wrong?
- What are the potential consequences?
- How could an accident happen?
- What are the contributing factors?
- What is the likelihood of a hazard occurring?
Once the hazards have been identified, develop and implement controls or procedures to mitigate the hazards. A helpful tool in doing this is to follow the hierarchy of hazard controls — a simple four-step process that begins with eliminating the hazard. If elimination is not possible, engineering controls to alter the environment to keep a worker from the identified hazard would be the next best option. Next, use administrative controls or change the way people work. Lastly, use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect employees.
JHAs help identify and correct hazards to ultimately keep your employees safe. It is always recommended to get employees involved in the process – especially the ones who perform the job for which the JHA is being conducted. By doing so, the process and completion of a JHA will provide the opportunity to identify unexpected hazards and increase support for a stronger, more comprehensive safety culture.