Job Safety Analyses: Minimize Risk and Protect Workers in Your Plant


In last month’s article, “Your Safety Committee: 8 Tips to Maximize Its Effectiveness,” we emphasized that active and effective safety committees help reduce workplace illnesses and injuries and ensure compliance with government health and safety regulations. (Missed the article? Click over to read it!) Here’s another tool to help maintain prudent operations: job safety analyses.

According to OSHA, a job safety analysis (JSA), also called a job hazard analysis, is “a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment.” The analysis itself is a procedure that breaks down a job into basic steps in order to pinpoint possible hazards. Once hazards are noted, the JSA helps supervisors and workers determine preventive safety practices to help avoid accidents and injuries.

As an ultimate goal, you’ll eventually have a JSA for all tasks in your plant. But practically, you’ll want to prioritize. At the top of your list should be jobs in which accidents either occur frequently or may result in serious injury; those that involve harmful materials; and those that aren’t routine.

When you’re ready to get down to the nuts and bolts of a JSA, it’s a best practice to actually observe a worker perform the job. Ask a supervisor to be part of the procedure. And – this is important – ask someone unfamiliar with the job to observe as well. A safety committee member from a different department would be a great candidate. Why? Often, those familiar with a job may gloss over important details and miss something. Familiarity may not breed contempt, per se, but it may lead to haste and informality. That’s not ideal for a JSA.

If the idea of detailing every step of a job and its potential hazards, as well as ways to avoid such hazards, seems daunting, here’s a welcome tip: Free templates and worksheets are available online for your use. Google “job safety analysis template” to find one that suits your operations. UCLA offers a library of more than 100 downloadable JSA templates in Word, already completed. Select the one you want (floor buffer, for instance) and then edit it as needed. Here’s the link: http://jsa.ehs.ucla.edu/

Still dubious? The benefits are more than worth the time. Conducting JSAs can:

  • Detect previously unnoticed hazards
  • Increase the job expertise and skill for workers
  • Boost communications between supervisors and workers
  • Promote compliance with safe operations
  • Develop teaching resources for job training

When it comes down to it, safety in your plant begins with you. When you emphasize safe operations and practices, you show your employees that you value their well-being. For more information on safe facility operations, get in touch with our experts at Environmental Remedies at 800-399-2783.