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Completing the Job Hazard Analysis

Admin Risk Management recommends job hazard analysis programs as an effective method to increase employer and employee safety and health awareness, decrease accidents and near-misses, and improve working conditions.

Note: The content on this page has been reproduced with permission from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) at 250 Main Street East, Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 1H6, 1-800-263-8466 (toll-free in Canada).

What is a Job Hazard Analysis?

A job hazard analysis (JHA) is a procedure which helps integrate accepted safety and health principals and practices into a particular operation, and is one way to increase the knowledge of hazards in the workplace. In a JHA, each basic step of a job is examined to identify potential hazards and to determine the safest way to do the job. Other terms used to describe this procedure are job safety analysis (JSA) and job hazard breakdown.

Some individuals prefer to expand the analysis into all aspects of the job, not just safety. This approach, known as total job analysis, job analysis or task analysis, is based on the idea that safety is an integral part of every job and not a separate entity. For these purposes, only health and safety aspects will be considered.

The terms job and task are commonly used interchangeably to mean a specific work assignment, such as operating a grinder, using a pressurized water extinguisher, or changing a flat tire. JHAs are not suitable for jobs defined too broadly (e.g. overhauling an engine) or too narrowly (e.g. positioning a car jack).

Benefits of Doing a Job Hazard Analysis

The method used here is to observe a worker actually performing the job. The major advantages of this method include that it does not rely on individual memory and that the process prompts recognition of hazards. For infrequently performed or new jobs, observation may not be practical. With these, one approach is to have a group of experienced workers and supervisors complete the analysis through discussion. An advantage of this method is that more people are involved allowing for a wider base of experience and promoting a more ready acceptance of the resulting work procedure. Members of the joint occupational safety and health committee should participate in this process.

Initial benefits from developing a JHA will become clear in the preparation stage. The analysis process may identify previously undetected hazards and increase the job knowledge of those participating. Safety and health awareness is raised, communication between workers and supervisors is improved, and acceptance of safety work procedures is promoted.

The completed JHA, or better still, a written work procedure based on it, can form the basis for regular contact between supervisors and workers on health and safety. It can serve as a teaching aid for initial job training and as a briefing guide for infrequent jobs. It may be used as a standard for health and safety inspections or observations and it will assist in completed comprehensive accident investigations.

The Four Basic Stages of a Job Hazard Analysis

  • Selecting the job to be analyzed
  • Breaking the job down into a sequence of steps
  • Identifying potential hazards
  • Determining preventive measures to overcome these hazards

What is important to know when selecting the job?

Ideally, all jobs should be subjected to a JHA. In some cases there are practical constraints posed by the amount of time and effort required to do a JHA. Another consideration is that each JHA will require revision whenever equipment, raw materials, processes, or the environment change. For these reasons, it is usually necessary to identify which jobs are to be analyzed. Even if analysis of all jobs is planned, this step ensures that the most critical jobs are examined first.

Factors to be considered in assigning a priority for analysis of jobs include:

  • Accident frequency and severity: jobs where accidents occur frequently or where they occur infrequently but result in disabling injuries.
  • Potential for sever injuries or illnesses: the consequences of an accident, hazardous condition, or exposure to harmful substance are potentially severe.
  • Newly established jobs: due to lack of experience in these jobs, hazards may not be evident or anticipated.
  • Modified jobs: new hazards may be associated with changes in job procedures.
  • Infrequently performed jobs: workers may be a greater risk when undertaking non-routine jobs and a JHA provides a means of reviewing hazards. 

Completing the Job Hazard Analysis

To get started with a job hazard analysis, follow the steps below.

Completing the Job Hazard Analysis

To get started with a job hazard analysis, follow the steps below.

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