Because not all on-the-job hazards are equal, hazard controls must be developed to address each one’s unique dangers. While some measures are more effective than others at reducing the risk, the work task must be assessed before the safest way to complete it can be identified. That’s where job safety analysis (JSA) comes in. Also referred to as job hazard analysis (JHA), Field-Level Risk Assessment, and Pre-Task Analysis, this process observes the connections between worker, task, tools, and environment to locate dangers before they happen and to develop recommendations for reducing or removing those risks.
Among other scenarios, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires formal hazard assessments for documenting lockout/tagout procedures, for work environments where personal protective equipment is deemed necessary, and where work is done in confined spaces. In fact, JSAs are valuable additions to just about any workplace scenario.
A standard JSA has four elements:
- Choose the job to be analyzed.
- Break the job down into steps/tasks.
- Identify potential hazards of each step.
- Establish measures to reduce or eliminate hazards.
For a JSA to be effective, the last step is the most important. Correcting uncontrolled hazards that have been identified demonstrates an employer’s commitment to a safe working environment.
JSAs are typically conducted on jobs that have high rates of injury or illness, that have the potential to cause severe injury or illness, that are new, that have been modified, that are complex enough to have written instructions, and that are non-routine. Jobs should not be broken down into more than ten steps, which should be neither too general nor too detailed. Hazards may be biological, ergonomic, chemical, or environmental. When trying to pinpoint one, questions suggested by OSHA include asking:
- What can go wrong?
- What are the consequences?
- How could it happen?
- Are there other contributing factors? What are they?
- What is the likelihood the hazard will happen?
It is preferable to eradicate hazards associated with job tasks, which may be accomplished by selecting alternative processes, using less hazardous materials, lowering the frequency of the task, or modifying equipment or procedures. If elimination is not possible, employers should aspire to contain the hazard through engineered safety methods or to revise procedures. Minimizing hazard exposure can be achieved by making use of personal protective equipment and making onsite treatment available, such as eye-wash stations, first aid kits, and medical facilities.
Taking time to identify hazards and eliminate or control them helps prevent worker injuries and illnesses. Employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces for their employees. When they fail to so, they can be held responsible for resulting injuries and wrongful deaths. Depending on the circumstances, there may be grounds for a legal cause of action.
If you are trying to put your life back together after a work-related injury, if you have lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, or if you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping people, and we can help you. Based in Macon, we proudly serve communities throughout Georgia. Contact us by calling 1-478-742-3381 or by filling out our online form.