How to create a job hazard analysis
- In 2021, U.S. businesses spent more than one billion dollars a week on serious, nonfatal workplace injuries.
- A job hazard analysis (JHA) identifies and evaluates onsite hazards before they result in injury.
- Learn the steps to create a job hazard analysis, involving employees all along the way.
What is a job hazard analysis (JHA)?
A job hazard analysis is an assessment to help your work comp clients identify and evaluate hazards on-site before they result in injury. Using a JHA, they can dissect all jobs and activities onsite into separate elements – the worker, the task, tools and equipment and the environment – to identify any hazards associated with that particular job or activity. Once they identify these uncontrolled hazards, they can take steps to eliminate or reduce them to an acceptable risk level. So share this article with them, to help them create a job hazard analysis.
Related: Top 13 preventable workplace injuries [infographic]
Why is a JHA so important?
According to Liberty Mutual, in 2021, U.S. businesses spent more than one billion dollars a week on serious, nonfatal workplace injuries. Total days lost to work-related injuries in 2020 (latest figures available) equaled 99 million, says the National Safety Council.
As their workers’ compensation insurance agent, you can help your clients prevent workplace injuries and illnesses by looking at their workplace operations, establishing proper job procedures and ensuring that all employees are trained properly. Spending time to create a job hazard analysis will result in:
- Fewer worker injuries and illnesses
- Safer, more effective work methods
- Reduced workers’ compensation costs
- Increased worker productivity
The analysis is also a valuable tool for training new employees in the steps required to perform their jobs safely. For a JHA to be effective, management must demonstrate its commitment to safety and health, correcting any uncontrolled hazards identified. Otherwise, management will lose credibility and employees may hesitate to go to management when dangerous conditions threaten them.
Related: How to improve your safety climate [infographic]
What types of jobs have a top priority for a JHA?
OSHA says to create a job hazard analysis first with these types of jobs:
- Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates
- Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there’s no history of previous accidents
- Jobs where one simple human error could lead to a severe accident or injury
- Jobs that are new to your operation or have undergone changes in processes and procedures
- Jobs complex enough to require written instructions
Related: How to help your clients achieve lower workers’ comp rates
How can we help our work comp clients create a job hazard analysis?
- Encourage them to involve their employees. Employees have a hands-on understanding of the job, providing them with invaluable knowledge for finding hazards. Including employees helps minimize oversights, ensures a quality analysis, and helps workers invest in the solutions because they share ownership in their safety and health program.
- Review their accident history. Suggest they review with their employees their worksite’s history of accidents and occupational illnesses that needed treatment, losses that required repair or replacement, and any “near misses” — events where an accident didn’t occur, but could have. These events are indicators that the existing hazard controls (if any) may not be adequate and deserve more scrutiny. Ask employees, what should we have done differently? What might have prevented these injuries or losses?
- Conduct a preliminary job review. Have them discuss with their employees the hazards that they know exist in their current work and surroundings. Brainstorm with them for ideas to eliminate or control those hazards. If any hazards exist that pose an immediate danger to an employee’s life or health, take immediate action to protect the worker. Any problems that can be corrected easily should be corrected as soon as possible, even before they create a job hazard analysis, to demonstrate management’s commitment to safety and health. This will also allow the team to focus on the hazards and jobs that need more study because of their complexity.
- List, rank and set priorities for hazardous jobs. List jobs with hazards that present unacceptable risks, based on those most likely to occur and with the most severe consequences. These jobs are first priority for analysis.
- Outline the steps or tasks. Nearly every job can be broken down into job tasks or steps. When beginning a job hazard analysis, says OSHA, watch the employee perform the job and list each step as the worker takes it. Record enough information to describe each job action without getting overly detailed. Add input from other workers who have performed the same job. Later, review the job steps with the employee to ensure nothing critical has been overlooked. Remind your clients and their employees that the job itself is being evaluated – not the employee’s job performance. Include the employee in all phases of the analysis—from reviewing the job steps and procedures to discussing uncontrolled hazards and recommended solutions. If needed for clarification, photograph or videotape the worker performing the job. These visual records can be handy references when doing a more detailed analysis of the work.
View the BLR infographic below to learn the six steps to creating a job hazard analysis.