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Job safety analysis: One of your most important tools
Job safety analysis—you’ve probably heard the term before, but may not know exactly what it is. It’s one of the best prevention tools you have, so read on to find out how it will benefit you, your company, and your workers.
A job safety analysis (JSA), also called a job hazard analysis or job task analysis, is a systematic analysis of a specific job in a specific location to identify the hazards and determine the controls. By completing a JSA, you ensure that you have properly planned the work and that workers can do it safely. As a written document, it can serve as evidence of due diligence.
To be effective, the JSA must cover all aspects of a specific task (e.g., offloading an HVAC unit and placing it on the building’s roof). Most projects require several JSAs, which isn’t surprising when you consider the number of different tasks being done at the same time.
How to write a JSA
A competent person should write the JSA because, according the Occupational Health and Safety Act, he or she has knowledge of the hazards that are present on the jobsite. Usually, the competent person who writes JSAs is the foreperson or supervisor.
- Write down job steps.
- Identify the hazards associated with each step.
Once you have a clear understanding of what the work involves, you need to break it down into manageable steps. These steps are not only specific to the job, but also specific to the work area. If the work area changes, the steps may need to change as well.
If the steps are too detailed, the JSA will be burdensome and difficult to follow. If they are not detailed enough, you may miss some hazards. Check out a sample JSA (13.4 kb) to get an idea of the appropriate level of detail.
This is the most challenging part of the JSA. Take each step and list the hazards associated with it. Think about what could go wrong from a health and safety point of view. Think about how people, equipment, materials, and the surrounding environment contribute to a hazard. To help you identify potential hazards, consider
- causes of past injuries
- other work going on near the work area
- legislation or regulatory requirements
- manufacturer’s instructions for equipment.
Each hazard you identified in the previous step needs a control. The control explains how you will eliminate the hazard or how you will significantly reduce the risk of injury.
Once you have completed the first three steps, you should have a well-developed JSA. Now, it’s time to share it with your workers. The JSA won’t be effective if workers don’t know about it or understand it.
Before starting work, review the relevant JSA with your crew and make sure everyone knows how they are supposed to do the job. If you’re dealing with a task that will last more than one day, it’s a good idea to review the JSA each morning before work starts.
Changes to work conditions
We know how often work plans change. When things change, the supervisor or foreperson must update the JSA to reflect any new hazards, and then review the JSA again with all workers.
Keep in mind that if your workers perform the same job in two different locations, you probably need two JSAs because the surrounding hazards may be different.
To see what is involved in a JSA, download a sample job safety analysis (13.4 kb).