The question of whether a Job Safety Analysis was robust enough is asked very quickly after a workplace incident. Investigators want to know if the Job Safety Analysis identified the hazard that led to the injury, and if it assessed the severity of the risk and the controls needed to address it appropriately. And in worker’s compensation cases, Job Safety Analysis can often be key pieces of evidence. For all of these reasons, you don’t want to wait until a workplace incident happens before you investigate how well your JSAs are working.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can ensure you are getting maximum protection out of your Job Safety Analysis.
What Makes a Job Safety Analysis “Strong?”
More facilities have come to recognize the value of Job Safety Analysis, and OSHA has published guidelines for their effective use. In general, effective Job Safety Analysis have the following characteristics, they:
- Break the job down into tasks and identify all tasks necessary to complete the job. This includes frequently missed steps like set-up and clean-up.
- Consider and identify the hazards associated with each task, including factors like pinch points, chemical use/exposure, cut/laceration risks, ergonomic strains, and other categories of risks. This can be done most effectively by watching performance of the job tasks, taking note of all the places where risks of injury may exist.
- Identify controls for each hazard identified, and also establish a hierarchy of controls, with elimination or substitution used whenever possible (because they eliminate the risk) as a preference over engineering, administrative, or PPE controls, which just create barriers to risks.
- Are easy and clear to read and understand. If it’s not clear what hazards correspond to which tasks, or which controls correspond to which tasks, then the Job Safety Analysis fails its primary duty, and may not adequately prepare employees to understand and avoid risks. When it comes to communicating hazards, we want to remove as much ambiguity as possible.
- Were written with the direct involvement of the employee(s) who do the job. It’s good to not only codify this as standard practice, but also to think about how to document it. Job Safety Analysis that fail often do so because there wasn’t enough input from the actual operators, as common-sense as it seems to involve them, and therefore the Job Safety Analysis didn’t correctly identify all steps in the job or the hazards. Lack of participation by the operators also can create a widespread view among employees that the Job Safety Analysis lack validity, which can hamper workforce participation in EHS.
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