The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs in Construction to “help industry employers develop proactive programs to keep their workplaces safe.” Employers who have implemented safety and health programs, such as those in Safety Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) for small and medium sized businesses, could decrease the average number of claims by more than half, as a result, save 80 percent cost per claim and 87 percent average lost time per claim, as found by a study of small employers in Ohio. OSHA’s recommended practices for safety and health programs focus on a proactive approach to identify and eliminate hazards before they cause injury or illness, which Job Hazard Analysis plays a critical role in.
This blog will explain what a Job Hazard Analysis is, its benefits and how to use it effectively.
Benefits of Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)
A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), also called Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is defined by OSHA as a “technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur.” Immediate actions must then be taken to eliminate or reduce uncontrolled hazards to “an acceptable risk level.” JHA/JSA likely results in fewer work injuries and illnesses.
Conducting JHA or JSA Before Construction Begins is ranked among the top three (3) most effective safety practices by 2016 SmartMarket Report respondents (behind “Enforce Use of PPE” and “Include Jobsite Workers in Safety Process”). It’s also considered among top five (5) most essential aspects of a world-class safety program, voted by 76 percent of mentioned respondents. Despite JHA’s tremendous benefits, only less than three quarters of mentioned respondents whose firms have between 50 and 99 employees, and less than half of those from even smaller companies are actually conducting JHA before work starts, showing room for improvement.
How To Conduct Effective Job Hazard Analysis
While there has been a lot of attention around the role of all workers, not just safety leaders, in developing and implementing effective safety and health programs, recommended practices once again emphasize the importance of worker participation in conducting JHA and finding solutions to prevent and control recognized hazards. OSHA suggests companies to start with a simple step: train workers on how to identify and control hazards.
Conducting a JHA begins with identifying specific tasks of a job and potential hazards associated with each task. OSHA guide listed a few questions to ask yourself while identifying potential work hazards:
- What can go wrong?
- What are the consequences?
- How could it arise?
- What are other contributing factors?
- How likely is it that the hazard will occur?
Typical hazards usually fall into several major categories, such as: slip, trip and fall hazards, electrical hazards, general housekeeping, equipment operation, equipment maintenance, fire protection, work organization and process flow (staffing and scheduling), work practices, ergonomic problems, and lack of emergency procedures. Health hazards should also be taken into consideration, such as chemical hazards, biological hazards, and ergonomic risk factors.
To prioritize which job or task to conduct a JHA on, companies should first focus on those with higher injury or illness rates, then those with more severe potential damages, even when caused by one small human error. New or revised work procedures should be paid attention heavily to as well.