JSAs help the hazards stand out
By: Judie Smithers
Publication: OSHA Safety Training Newsletter
Date Posted: 05/10/2017
To discover the overall risks in a task, you have to take a close look at how the worker interacts with the job, the hazards, and the control measures. A technique called the job safety analysis (JSA) breaks the job down into its steps so you can identify the hazardous parts and implement effective controls.
There’s no general OSHA standard requiring employers to conduct JSAs, but OSHA does expect the employer to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure worker safety. Using the JSA process to break up a job into its smaller tasks helps you get a clear picture of how to make a job safer.
Specific training elements
1. Introduce some of the benefits of JSAs.
The JSA process can result in:
- The control or elimination of hazards before they cause injuries;
- Supervisors and workers who understand the whole job;
- Improved employee involvement, commitment, and morale; and
- Better planning for changes in operations and equipment.
The JSA can also be used to develop training programs for new hires.
2. Explain how to effectively focus JSA efforts to get the most benefit.
With dozens of different jobs in the workplace, the number of JSAs you’d like to conduct is overwhelming. It’s frightening to think an injury happened because the JSA for the job was still on the to-do list. To prioritize jobs for JSAs, consider:
- Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates.
- Jobs that are inherently dangerous, such as those that require a permit program. One simple human error or mechanical malfunction could potentially cause severe or disabling injuries or illnesses. These jobs should be a priority even if there is no history of previous incidents or if they’re performed infrequently.
- New jobs or those that have changed.
- Jobs that generate employee complaints.
- Jobs complex enough to require written instructions.
Trainer’s note: Offer suggestions for jobs that are candidates for JSAs, and ask the trainees to prioritize them.
3. Describe how a JSA is conducted.
Once a job has been selected for a JSA, the process focuses on that job. The next step is to observe the job and to identify its steps or tasks. Remember, the JSA evaluates the job itself, not the employee’s job performance.
The JSA process then analyzes each step of a job to discover the hazards:
- What can go wrong?
- What are the consequences?
- How could they happen?
- What are other contributing factors?
- How likely is it that the hazards will occur?
Once the hazards are identified, the JSA process considers how the hazards can be eliminated, reduced, or otherwise controlled. The most effective controls are engineering controls that physically change a machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the hazard. If this isn’t feasible, administrative controls that involve changing how employees do the job are considered.
4. Review the employees’ roles in the JSA process.
Employee involvement is key to the success of a JSA program. Employees understand the job, so they can help ensure a thorough, quality analysis. The worker who does the job should be included in all phases of the JSA from reviewing the job steps to discussing hazards and recommending solutions.
JSAs often lead to new or modified job procedures. Employees who do the job must know what they are required to do and the reasons for the changes.
Trainer’s note: Identify employees who have participated in JSAs.
5. Outline the forms used to conduct and record JSAs.
The JSA process typically uses written forms to record observations, outline the hazard analysis, and recommended control measures. There is no one standard format, but the form should provide space to write down the job’s title and location, the name of the person doing the JSA, the date, the task description, the hazards, and the recommendations.
Trainer’s note: Provide blank forms for your trainees.
6. Explain how to break a job up into its steps.
JSAs depend on breaking up a job into its steps. The person conducting the JSA watches the employee perform the job and lists each of the job’s basic steps. The employee doing the job should review the job steps to make sure nothing has been missed. A good way to have a record to help with future analysis is to take photos and videos of the worker performing the job.
Trainer’s note: Describe a job in your workplace, and ask the trainees to break the job up into smaller tasks. Record these on a blank JSA form.
7. Discuss how to identify hazards.
A big part of the JSA is to identify the hazards in each step of the job.
Here’s an example of a hazard scenario: In the metal shop (environment), while changing a machine’s tool, (trigger), a worker’s hand (exposure) comes close to a rotating pulley on another machine. If the employee’s hand was pulled into the machine, it would likely fracture his fingers (consequences).
The hazard scenarios describe:
- Where it is happening (environment),
- What precipitates the hazard (trigger),
- Who or what it is happening to (exposure),
- The outcome that would occur should it happen (consequence), and
- Any other contributing factors.
How likely is it that the hazard will occur? This determination requires some judgment. If there have been “near misses” or injuries, the likelihood of a recurrence would be considered high. If the pulley is exposed and easily accessible, that also is a consideration. In the example, the likelihood that the hazard will occur is high because there is no guard to prevent contact with the pulley, and the operation is performed while the machine is running. The JSA process uses hazard scenarios to organize hazard analysis activities.
Trainer’s note: Have employees suggest hazard scenarios based on the job steps in your previous example. Record the hazards on the JSA form.
8. Explain how hazard controls are recommended.
Hazard controls should be done in the following order:
- Engineering controls,
- Administrative and work practice controls, and
- Personal protective equipment.
Engineering controls eliminate or minimize the hazards through such actions as changing the equipment or process to remove the hazard, substituting materials to lessen the hazard, or enclosing (guarding) the hazard.
Administrative and work practice controls include such actions as establishing safe procedures, limiting exposure times, adjusting staffing levels, providing warning signs or alarms, and conducting training.
The last control, using PPE (such as respirators, hearing protection, protective clothing, goggles, and hard hats), is acceptable as a control method when engineering controls are not feasible or do not totally eliminate the hazard, or when administrative and safe work practices do not provide sufficient additional protection.
Trainer’s note: Let the trainees decide on hazard controls for your example. Record the recommendations on the JSA form.
9. Summarize the need to follow recommendations and to periodically review JSAs.
Following the recommendations will make the job safer, even if not every recommendation can be implemented right away. Sometimes the recommendations have to be prioritized for when they can be put into place.
It’s also a good practice to periodically review JSAs to be sure they remain accurate and effective. Even if the job or the person doing it hasn’t changed, a review might uncover hazards that were not identified in the initial analysis. It’s especially important to review the JSA if an illness or injury occurs.
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