A job hazard assessment, otherwise known as a job risk assessment or task assessment, is one tool to help identify potential hazards in the workplace.

What is a Job hazard assessment (JHA)?

JHAs take a micro view into the job itself, breaking the job’s tasks into a step-by-step analysis, identifying hazards at each step then outlining the proper controls to reduce or eliminate the hazards.

What is a hazard?
Job hazards in the workplace

Job hazard assessments include potential trip hazards.

A hazard is the potential for harm. In practical terms, a hazard often is associated with a condition or activity that, if left unrecognized, can result in an injury or illness.

JHAs focus on job tasks to identify hazards before they occur; focusing on the relationship between the work, the task, the tools and the work environment.

The safety and health of your employees is critical to your business. One of the best ways to determine and establish proper work procedures is to conduct a JHA, which is one component of the larger commitment of an effective workplace safety program.

Before starting a JHA, you should:

» Involve the employees who do the actual work; they are typically the most knowledgeable and  can identify the best ways to work more safely
» Review accident/injury/illness/near miss history to determine which jobs pose the highest risk to employees
» Identify OSHA standards that apply to your jobs
» Set priorities. Which JHAs will you do first? Jobs with highest injury/illness rates? Jobs where you have identified violations of OSHA standards? Jobs with the highest rate of near misses?

Once you’ve done this then conduct a JHA.

» Break job tasks into steps. You might want to watch the worker do the job so that you can identify each step in order. Another suggestion is to videotape the worker in action. Be sure to include preparation and clean-up, too.

» To identify the potential hazards ask questions such as:  What can go wrong and how could it happen? What are the contributing factors and consequences?
Job hazard assessment in the workplace

» Identify ways to eliminate or reduce the potential hazards. Is there a safer way to do the job? Does there need to be changes in the equipment made, such as adding machine guards? How is the lighting? What changes in work processes would reduce the hazards? Don’t feel you have to limit it to one control for each hazard.

When done, your JHA might look something like one of these:

1. Example Job Hazard Analysis Form
2. Chart Example Job Hazard Analysis

You’ll want to review JHAs on a regular basis: you may find things you missed. In addition, tasks and processes sometimes change and you want JHAs to be up-to-date.

JHAs are often overlooked as a tool in the overall workplace safety analysis, but can be very useful when:

» Identifying the root cause in an accident investigation
» Identifying potential hazards in any new or changed task or process implemented
» Determining what PPE is needed
» Training new employees or someone new to the job.

Is your company being effective in its hazard inspections? If you need assistance in evaluating your safety program, contact me. Companies who do this and do it well see a positive impact to their bottom line.

 Resources

» OSHA Job Hazard Analysis
» OSHA Job Hazard Analysis (PDF)
» OSHA Personal Protective Equipment: Non-mandatory compliance guidelines for hazard assessment and personal protective equipment selection.
» PPE Assessment
» Electric Power Hazard Assessment

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