77: A Breakdown of Job Safety Analysis

JSA Template

Get the JSA template HERE. OSHA has a great page for this topic HERE.

Many companies rely on a super-simple tool to define appropriate safe work practices for specific jobs. The Job Safety Analysis Process (also referred to as a JSA, or Job Hazard Analysis – JHA). The JSA is a very effective means of helping to identify and manage hazards associated with task thus reducing incidents, accidents, and injuries in the workplace. It is also an excellent tool to use during new employee orientations and operator training and can also be used to investigate “near misses” and accidents.

Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is based on the following ideas: 

  • That a specific job or work assignment can be separated into a series of relatively simple steps.
  • That hazards associated with each step can be identified.
  • Solutions can be developed to control each hazard.

To start the JSA Process, select the job or task to be performed. Any job that has hazards or potential hazards is a candidate for a JSA. An uncommon or seldom-performed job is also a candidate for a JSA.

Forms or worksheets (see sample worksheet) may vary from company to company but the idea remains the same. Identify all steps, hazards, and safe work procedures before starting the job. I have a template you can download to follow along. It is filled out with a hypothetical job. So grab that and follow along for more context. The JSA process is a multi-step process and goes something like this:

  • Basic Job Steps: Break the job into a sequence of steps. Each of the steps should accompany some major task. That task will consist of a series of movements. Look at each series of movements within that basic task.
  • Potential Hazards: To complete a JSA effectively, you must identify the hazards or potential hazards associated with each step. Every possible source of energy must be identified. It is very important to look at the entire environment to determine every conceivable hazard that might exist. Hazards contribute to accidents and injuries.
  • Recommended Safe Job Procedures: Using the Sequence of Basic Job Steps and Potential Hazards, decide what actions are necessary to eliminate, control, or minimize hazards that could lead to accidents, injuries, damage to the environment, or possible occupational illness. Each safe job procedure or action must correspond to the job steps and identified hazards.

Through this process, you can determine the safest, most efficient way of performing a given job. Thus JSA systematically carries out the basic strategy of accident prevention: The recognition, evaluation, and control of hazards.

Now, how do we document this process and capture the results? It is prepared in a 3-column chart form, either portrait or landscape – I have seen both and listing the basic job steps on the left-hand column and the corresponding hazards in the middle column, with safe procedures for each step on the right-hand column. The right-hand column will essentially become your safe work instructions.

A completed JSA chart can then be used as a training guide for employees; it provides a logical introduction to the work, it’s associated hazards, and the proper and safe procedures to be followed.

For experienced workers, a JSA is reviewed periodically to maintain a safety-awareness on the job and to keep abreast of current safety procedures. The review is also useful for employees assigned new or infrequent tasks.

Let’s talk about how to fill out the JSA. First, there is an art and science to breaking down a job or task into steps. If the steps are too detailed, the JSA will be complicated and difficult to follow. If they are not detailed enough, you may miss important steps and associated hazards. For example, let’s say you are planting a tree, and you need a JSA on how to unload the tree from the truck. You don’t want to say:

Step 1. Remove latch pin from the tailgate

Step 2. Release tailgate latch

Step 3. Lower tailgate to open position

Now you move to planting the tree, let’s say by hand:

Step 1: Retrieve shovel from the back of the truck

Step 2: Place shovel on ground at the specified degree

Step 3: Place dominate foot onto back of shovel at the mid-sole

This is tedious, no one will read that document. Instead, it may be enough to simply say, “open tailgate” as the job step and move to the second part of creating the SJA – listing all the hazards associated with that step. On the flip side, don’t over-simplify it either. For example, when planting the tree:

Step 1: Put tree in ground…that’s it. No step 2.

Ok, an extreme example of over-simplification. But be sure to walk through the job steps and look for opportunities to break it down into steps. If you already have job steps laid out, such as in the case of OEM operating instructions or manual this makes it a bit easier.

To make sure I illustrate this point, let’s talk about another example; let’s say you need to operate a 3D metal printer – you wouldn’t just state, “place build plate inside the print chamber, close door and start print operation.” There is obviously more to this process. This brings me to my next point; understand the difference between a job/task and a process.

process is a series of physical, mechanical or even chemical operations, often made up of several different jobs/tasks. On the other hand, a job/task is a single activity – either on its own or in support of a larger process, like 3D metal printing. In this example, there will be the storage, handling, and loading of metal powder. Then there is the build set up – like installing the build plate, and even post-printing work, like removing the printed part from the build plate, any grinding or buffing work on the part, hardening of parts in an oven, just to name a few.

Each job/task will have its own JSA form that, when combined will make up everything that goes into the overall process of 3D Printing. And the steps and hazards could be different for different types of print jobs – the print media could be different, the print machine models could be different, inserting gases, removal process, etc.

A good tip as you complete your JSA, make sure each job/task step starts with action – use verbs, like pull lever, push door, place ladder, etc. Steps that do not present a potential hazard should be left off. The exception would be if you intend to use this as a multi-purpose job aid covering other job steps (like for quality or production).

This layered approach may work well, as employees will see there is ONE way to perform the job. That brings up a great point, you may already have a work instruction that breaks down the steps. Maybe there is a machine operating manual. Be sure to review these with operators to ensure they are actually still relevant and cover all the steps they need to take.

Whether you have existing jobs needing to be reviewed or are implementing a new job or task, employee involvement is critical. So be sure to do a couple of walk-throughs of the process with operators before publishing the document. The JSA should be reviewed, approved, and signed by the supervisor before the task is started. Understanding every job step is very important! Whenever a job step changes or a new step is introduced, the JSA must be reviewed and updated.

Remember, the key reasons for completing a JSA are to encourage teamwork (especially with new employees), to involve everyone performing the job in the process, to increase awareness of potential hazards and communicate safe operating procedures!

I have a JSA template download link in the show notes. Be sure to practice a few times and review it with others to make sure you get the hang of it. Make sure you do not overlook a job step/task that introduces a hazard! This is the whole point of this exercise – to identify and control hazards associated with performing a job.

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