Todd Jerome Jenkins, MS, CSP, SMS, CHST, STSC

Safety Aficionado & Ph.D. Student

JOB SAFETY ANALYSIS: A very basic overview.

What is a JSA?

According to Harvard University, a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is a safety tool that can be used to define and control hazards associated with a certain process, job, or procedure. It is a systematic examination and documentation of every task within each job to identify health and safety hazards, and the steps to control each task.

There are quite a few benefits and functions associated with JSAs. The JSA process can serve as a tool for planning, training new employees, or doing infrequent tasks. It is also possible for the JSA to assist in determining contributing factors and root causes during an incident investigation.

When a Job Safety Analysis is completed, the company should place it in the work area where the task will be performed or make it available to the affected employees. Affected employees and their supervisor should review a JSA before work begins for complex jobs or work performed infrequently. The supervisor and employees performing the task should check the task, hazards, and controls for accuracy. The JSA should be updated as needed. As part of the JSA, employees may also be taught how to recognize hazards and follow the process.

It is recommended that a JSA is conducted whenever one or more of the following occurs: a fatality, accident trends, a new procedure or a new job, or a new piece of equipment that has a hazard associated with it.

How to complete a JSA?

Basic overview:

  • Breaking down a job into steps
  • Identifying safety hazards at each step
  • Identify controls based on the hierarchy of controls

Download the free JSA worksheet.

STEP 1: Select the job – The JSA should be completed by the supervisor and people doing the work. They are the people most familiar with the hazards. A safety professional may help identify hazards and controls, but the supervisors and employees performing the work are most qualified to complete the JSA. Break the selected job down into tasks or broad steps. You don’t want to be too specific or too general. Each step should be an action, remove, open, lift, climb, etc……

For our example, we will take a look at hanging drywall. After selecting the job or work, talk through each step. From the example, you can see we identified nine steps. Notice we tried not to be too granular but not too vague either. We talked through the process from start to finish.

STEP 2: Identify the hazards – for each step, identify any hazards that have the potential to cause an incident (injury, environmental impact, or property damage). For instance, the task is to remove the manhole cover – the associated hazards would be strain or sprain from the lift, crushed by the cover if the lid falls, falling into the manhole as the cover is being removed, etc……

In the example, we identify one or more hazards per step. Again, a couple of words to describe the hazard is all that is needed. Some of the hazards identified are strains and sprains from lifting and moving drywall, electrocution from cords and tools, lacerations, and falling from the ladder when screwing off the top of the sheet.

STEP 3: Select the controls – for each hazard, apply the hierarchy of controls to reduce the hazard to an acceptable risk level (meaning a level that if something happens, no one will die or be seriously injured). As an example: strains and sprains – use a mechanical lifting device, require multiple people to lift anything over 25lbs., use proper lifting techniques; crushed by – wear steel-toed boots, keep anyone not associated with the work out of the area, etc……

In our example, we discuss how we plan to control the hazards associated with hanging drywall. Stretching before we start and throughout the day will help combat strains and sprains. Inspecting our tools and equipment will help to prevent electrocution. Working in a two-person team helps when lifting the drywall and holding the sheet in place to screw off. Because we are working with a blade and sharp edges, cut-resistant gloves will protect our hands. Finally, we know we will need to screw off the top of the sheets. We initially talked about using a step ladder but thought a baker (utility) scaffold would be safer after discussion.

After completing the JSA review the steps, hazards, and controls once more and ask if you can eliminate any of the steps. If not, can you substitute anything that would reduce the number of steps or the hazard? Talk through the work process. Is there another way to do a less hazardous job? Finally, talk about the training needed, policies that may apply to the work, and what PPE you may need.

We need to cover a few things about the hierarchy controls. Safety controls may be broken into five stages: elimination, substitution, engineering, administration, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The elimination stage is concerned with physically eliminating the hazard. Engineering controls isolate people from hazards, while substitution replaces hazards with a less hazardous process or substance. The purpose of administrative controls is to change how people work. Finally, personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn to minimize exposure to hazards that may lead to serious workplace injuries or illnesses. PPE is the least effective control and should always be used with administrative control.

Test your knowledge. Take the JSA Quiz.

For more in-depth information about the Job Safety Analysis process check the Job Hazard Analysis written by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Is a JSA required by federal OSHA? Click here to find the answer.

7 thoughts on “JOB SAFETY ANALYSIS: A very basic overview.

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