Basics of Job Safety Analysis

The worker standing on a production line, the nurse working in a clinic and the
student landscaping all work in vastly different fields - and all share
something in common: hazards. In Canada, employers are responsible for
assessing the health and safety risks of a job and for putting measures in
place to ensure the safety of their workers.

Job safety analysis (JSA) is an important part of that process. It focuses on
the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work
environment, and tries to identify hazards before they occur.

The JSA process starts with selecting the job to be analyzed. There are several
questions that need to be considered when selecting the job, such as:

  • Where do accidents occur most frequently?

  • Are the consequences of an accident, hazardous condition or exposure to a harmful substance potentially severe?

  • Is this a newly created job?

  • Has a job recently been modified?

  • What are the non-routine or infrequently performed jobs?

After the specific job has been selected, a JSA is conducted following these
three steps:

1. Break it down

Break the job into steps or tasks noting what is done for each, rather than how
it is done. Most tasks can be summarized in less than 10 steps. These steps
should be kept in their correct sequence as any step out of order may miss
serious potential hazards or introduce hazards that do not actually exist.

2. Identify hazards

Carefully analyze each task of the job and list the potential health and safety
hazards for each based on your observations of the job, knowledge of accident
and injury causes, and work experience. Seek the input of the workers who have
experience in that job.

3. Determine preventive measures

The final stage in a JSA is to determine practical ways to prevent or control
the hazards that have been identified:

  • Eliminate or contain the hazard by choosing a different process, modifying an existing process, improving the environment or changing the hazardous substance or tools being used. If the hazard cannot be eliminated, contain the hazard and avoid contact by using enclosures, machine guards, worker booths, or similar devices.

  • Modify hazardous work procedures. Change the sequence of steps or add additional steps to the job process.

  • Reduce exposure. These measures are the least effective and should only be used if no other solutions are possible. For example, you can minimize some exposure by providing personal protective equipment. To reduce the severity of an accident, provide emergency facilities such as eyewash stations.

Workers performing the job as well as the supervisor and a representative from
the health and safety committee should be involved in conducting the JSA. The
more skill and years experience applied to identifying hazards in a job, the
safer the job and the employees will be.

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety