Mastering job hazard analysis

Author: BLR

Streamlining workplace safety

In today’s fast-paced work environment, ensuring the safety of your team is paramount, and performing job hazard analyses is a great way to identify hazards and prevent incidents before they happen. However, managing JHAs can be a complex and time-consuming task that often leads to frustration, especially without the right tools. The need to identify, assess, and mitigate potential workplace hazards can be overwhelming, particularly as regulations evolve and work processes become increasingly intricate. If you’re finding it challenging to manage your JHA obligations, you’re not alone. But fear not, BLR is here to help. Read on to learn when and how to complete an effective job hazard analysis and how an EHS management software solution, like BLR’s EHS Hero, can streamline and simplify your JHA processes.

What is a JHA?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is a technique that focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. It’s a simple, yet highly effective technique that forces your workers to stop and take the time to consider what’s involved in each task, and then identify the risks. After you identify uncontrolled hazards, you can take steps to eliminate them or control them and lessen the risk of injury or an accident.

When should you write a JHA?

While it’s true every task carries some inherent risk—even something as routine as climbing the stairs—not all tasks require a JSA. Keep it simple by focusing on the critical tasks.

Those include:

  • Any high-risk job that has the potential for serious injury, illness, or death
  • Jobs where there is a high rate of injury or illness
  • Jobs with recent accidents or near misses
  • Any job that’s unfamiliar to your workplace or has undergone changes in the procedure or personnel responsible for it
  • Jobs that are complicated enough to require written instructions
  • Jobs that require safety permits

Best practices for completing JHAs

Writing a good JSA is a lot like being a detective. Your goal is to investigate what can go wrong, how likely it is that something will go wrong and what you can do to prevent it before it happens. Here are five easy steps you can follow to ensure your JHAs are complete and effective:

  1. Observe the task and list its steps – Break the task down into its core steps and list each one. Watching your employees perform the task can be helpful for ensuring all steps in the procedure are noted, including start-up, shutdown, and maintenance procedures.
  2. Describe the hazards in each step – Carefully consider all hazards that could be associated with each step of the task. Make sure to consider hazards resulting from the work environment as well as those produced by the task itself. It may also be helpful to talk to the employees who currently perform the task and get their feedback on what they see as potential hazards and their current mitigation techniques.
  3. Develop corrective measures – Follow the hierarchy of controls to develop a method to reduce or eliminate the hazards.
  4. Write safe job procedures – Describe safe work practices and list any PPE or special equipment required. Review safe job procedures with employees and keep them in an accessible location.
  5. Certify, document, and keep records – Retain records of your job hazard analyses and review them periodically. Your JHAs should be living documents that are reviewed often, especially whenever there is a change in the procedure or when a new employee is onboarded.

How to keep track of JHAs

Now that you’ve written effective JHAs, you need to make sure you keep track of them so they can be audited and updated periodically. If you have a binder full of JSAs or you keep them stashed away in a drawer, you’re not making it easy for your employees to access them. And each time there’s a revision to a JSA, someone has to manually update it. If you’re a large company managing hundreds of tasks, that’s not just inefficient; it’s expensive. Using a digital database to manage JHAs makes the job so much easier.

EHS Hero’s Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) tool is a uniquely integrated solution for creating, storing, and managing JHAs. The tool standardizes operations and improves communication across your organization by allowing you to easily upload, build, and share unlimited JHAs. The creation of effective, consistent JHAs improves job safety, visibility into job hazards and responsibilities, and communication across the organization. This leads to less downtime caused by workplace injuries, which, in turn, boosts employee retention and productivity. Additionally, investing in a JHA tool shows a greater investment in your safety program and can help drive safety culture within your organization.

Want to learn more? Click here to watch an on-demand demo and witness the power of EHS Hero’s JHA tool in action.