Job Hazard Analysis: Definition, Methods & Objectives

Instructor: Adela Mancera Lorenzo
In this lesson we will review job hazard analysis to learn what it is, its purpose, and the process OSHA recommends when conducting a job hazard analysis.

Job Hazard Analysis

An easy way to understand this subject is to think of yourself as a fancy safety psychologist helping relationships. You are working with Petro and Hammerlina, who want to improve their relationship, and it's your job to help them avoid mistakes, assess what is not working for them, and help them improve.

Job hazard analysis is a technique that evaluates the relationship between the job tasks workers perform and their worksite, including the tools they use. We will try to understand and help control the conditions and activities that might hurt workers or make them sick, otherwise called hazards.

The Importance and Value of the Job Hazard Analysis

Each year many workers suffer from incidents and illnesses caused by work, which is why it is essential to conduct a job hazard analysis, which helps to:

  • Prevent workplace injury and illnesses
  • Eliminate hazards that can arise or are already present
  • Reduce the risk level of hazards

Implementing a JHA technique will help with finding more practical and safer job procedures and providing proper training for workers. Utilizing this technique can help reduce the cost of workers' comps, minimize the number of incidents, and improve the quality of a health and safety program.

Starting the JHA

The format for a JHA varies from company to company according to their needs, but for this lesson we will create a simple one that will help us cover all aspects of an analysis and keep in mind the relationships we are evaluating.

Step 1: List All the Jobs that Might Require a JHA

The first step you must take when preparing to conduct a job hazard analysis is to list all the jobs that might require a JHA. After you make a list of the jobs performed by workers, it is recommended to start your JHA with the riskier job tasks, the ones that might cause significant injuries to workers.

How can we do this? Involve workers and encourage them to talk about possible hazards and unsafe behaviors in their job tasks that they believe might exist. Share ideas and brainstorm processes to eliminate these hazards as soon as possible.

Reviewing and studying past job incidents can help when conducting the JHA, as you can evaluate the risks in each job on your list. Past job incidents can also tell you if the current hazard control process needs improvement.

Step 2: Write Down All the Steps of a Task or Job

Ask workers to perform their job tasks and take notes that break the job down into steps. It is helpful to take pictures or videos and ask several workers to perform the same task. Encourage the workers to participate and remind them that you are not evaluating them, but the job itself.

Let us use an example: Petro is a carpenter whose job is to nail small corbels together using a hammer.

Job Task Steps
1. Move 35lb corbel pieces from the floor to the work table.
2. Sand the wood pieces and glue them together.
3. Take nails and hammer them to unite the parts and form a corbel.

Step 3: Pay Attention to Hazardous Conditions or Unsafe Behaviors

Identify the hazards or unsafe behaviors that can arise from each step of a job task. You can identify these by answering the following questions of each job task step.

  • What are potentially unsafe behaviors or hazards?
  • What can the consequences be?
  • How likely is the hazard or unsafe behavior to occur?

Job Task Steps Hazards
1. Move 35lb corbel pieces from the floor to the work table.
2. Sand the wood pieces and glue them together.
3. Take nails and hammer them to unite the parts and form a corbel.
1. Improper lifting, reaching, and twisting techniques can cause low back strain.
2. Wood sand can enter the eyes and irritate them when proper eye protection is not used; skin irritation can be caused by the glue.
3. Bruises to the fingers can be caused by the hammer.

Step 4: Develop Preventive Measures

Once you have identified the hazards, brainstorm with the workers for ideas to:

  • Mitigate or eliminate the risks
  • Control exposure to the hazards

Although we are aiming to eliminate the risks that can potentially arise at each job task, which is a practical step at controlling hazards, it is also the most difficult one. However, whenever possible it is crucial to create measures that eliminate hazards that can harm employees. Do not wait for the JHA to be completed to correct a hazard; do it as soon as possible.

To keep injuries and illnesses at bay, after completing the JHA you've conducted, it is crucial to review it periodically to ensure it is working for you and the workers.

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