Job Hazard Analysis: A Guide to Identifying Risks in the Workplace

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Or using a rake to shovel your driveway.

A breakdown of the 4 steps of a Job Safety Analysis (JSA)

Even if you already perform both types of assessments for your organization, it's worth reviewing the differences to make sure you're not inadvertently creating more work for yourself. Before we get into differences between job safety analysis and risk assessment, let's define what we're talking about:. Job safety analysis: A formal process to identify the dangers of specific job tasks in order to reduce the risk of injury to workers.

It involves breaking down the steps of performing a job, identifying hazards at each step, and creating controls to keep workers safe while performing that task.

Procedure goes by various names but reaps many benefits, proponents say

Risk assessment: A formal process to identify potential hazards related to an activity or operation, analyze the level of risk associated with those hazards, and propose controls to reduce the level of risk. The key difference between job safety analysis and risk assessment is the scope. Job safety analysis has a much narrower scope, as it involves only job-specific risks. Risk assessment, on the other hand, gives a big picture view of all operational risks including environmental hazards, stormwater and waste management, equipment maintenance, and more.

Hazard identification

For each job step, the supervisor has identified potential hazards, and suggested recommended actions to eliminate or control the hazard. For comparison, here's an example of a risk assessment for a poultry farm from Health and Safety Executive:.


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In addition to task-related hazards, the risk assessment identifies potential hazards associated with machinery, chemical storage, electrical systems, building maintenance, and more. These can be further separated by type into biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic, and psychosocial.

A risk matrix provides a quick view of both the likelihood and the severity of the consequences. Both factors are given a rating from 1—5 and the subsequent result places the risk in one of these categories: Extreme, High Risk, Medium, Low Risk. Elimination control. When the risk is extremely high, completely remove the hazard from the lab.

Task Hazard Assessment

Substitution control. Engineering controls. A good example would be a biological safety cabinet, which is an enclosed ventilated laboratory workspace designed to protect the user from being exposed to pathogens. Administrative controls. Always keep records of all risk assessment reports right from step 1 and update records when new information is available. Note that all new preventative measures should be implemented only once the risk assessment team obtains approval from the principal investigator or lab manager.

You may want to use different levels of a risk matrix depending on how detailed you want your risk calculations to be. If you're unsure about this step in the JSA process, we've put together a guide on risk matrix calculations and hazard assessment to assist. We also recommend using safety software to help you with this process by automatically calculating risk through your own defined levels of probability and severity.

What is a JHA?

This way you'll be able to have consistent risk calculations across your organization, while also streamlining the JSA process. The final step in a job safety analysis is to identify controls you can take to prevent these hazards from causing potential accidents. This includes documenting any personal protective equipment PPE that can help mitigate the hazards you've identified.

Once controls and PPE are taken into factor, you'll conduct another risk assessment of each hazard to determine the amount of risk remaining, also known as residual risk. You should use the same risk assessment matrix as before, only now the probability and severity should be lower thanks to the controls and PPE.


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If you can't eliminate the hazard, find ways to change the job procedure or limit the risk as much as possible. You'll also want to use this time to gather feedback from fellow supervisors and employees who may find controls or risks that you weren't aware of.

Safety Statement and Risk Assessment

Once all controls and residual risk is calculated you will determine the overall final risk of the job. You can use this information to identify which jobs pose the most risk to employees, even after controls are implemented. You may also use this data to see if additional controls are needed to further reduce risk of injury. Job safety analysis software can make this important process easier for everyone involved.

Most importantly, our JSA module comes with easy-to-use reporting tools that will help you get the most out of your JSAs.

To learn more, contact IndustrySafe today.

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