Job Safety Analysis Made Simple

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What is a JSA and Why is it Important?

Job Safety Analysis (JSA) also known as Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is a process of looking at a work task and considering what is the safest way to complete it. The process typically involves 1) Breaking a job down into smaller tasks and observing a worker performing it, 2) Identifying the potential hazards for each task and, 3) Determining preventive measures and controls to overcome these hazards.

Dangerous jobs benefit the most from a JSA because it can reduce or eliminate hazards that cause serious injuries or fatalities. A JSA increases job knowledge, establishes teamwork, serves as a health and safety standard and teaching aid, and supports accident investigations at work. A JSA template is used when performing a JSA procedure and is used to generate a safety and recommendation report.

What Jobs are Appropriate for a JSA?

A JSA can be conducted on many jobs in your workplace but priority should go to the types of jobs that have:

  1. Highest injury or illness rates;
  2. Potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there is no history of previous accidents;
  3. Simple human error which could lead to a severe accident or injury;
  4. Undergone changes in processes and procedures; and
  5. Complexity enough to require written instructions

Top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent workplace fatality census identified the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the US. These dangerous jobs would benefit significantly from a JSA process.

  • Logging Workers
  • Fishers and related fishing workers
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
  • Roofers
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors
  • Structural iron and steelworkers
  • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
  • First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
  • Miscellaneous agricultural workers

4 Key Steps for a Successful JSA

These four key steps can help you get started with performing more effective JSAs:

  1. Choose the right job
    • Choose a job which has a high accident frequency, severity and result in serious injuries
    • A job which has exposure to hazardous and harmful products
    • Newly established jobs which there is lack of experience and where hazards may not be anticipated.
    • Modified jobs due to changes of procedures
    • Infrequently performed jobs or non-routine jobs which put workers into greater risk
  2. Break a job into steps 
    • Don’t be too general yet not too detailed
    • Rule of thumb is 10 steps
    • Arrange steps into correct sequence
    • Items start in verbs
    • Make notes about “What is done” not “How it is done”
    • Job should be observed during the normal times and situations
    • Only regular tools and equipment should be used
  3.  Identify potential hazards 
    When identifying hazards, ask the right questions:

    1. Is the worker at risk of falling, slipping and tripping?
    2. Is the worker exposed to extreme temperatures?
    3. Is the worker at risk of getting caught between objects?
    4. Is the worker exposed to explosive and combustible materials?
    5. Is the worker at risk of electrocution?
  4. Set preventive measures
    • Eliminate the hazards by using a different process, modifying an existing process, improving the environment and changing tools.
    • Contain hazard by using machine guards, enclosures, workers booths or similar devices if hazard is impossible to be eliminated.
    • Reorganize work procedures.
    • Minimize exposure by reducing the number of times the hazard is encountered.