What Is a Job Hazard Analysis and Do You Need It?

Posted September 30, 2015

A job hazard analysis (JHA) is used to identify and minimize hazards in the workplace. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not explicitly mandate organizations to produce JHAs, but it promotes their use for tasks that may be dangerous.

A proper JHA should focus on the employee, the process, the various tools and the surroundings. After determining unchecked hazards, organizations are projected to make a plan to eliminate or minimize them to an appropriate risk level, according to OSHA.

Starting a JHA

Front-line employees understand their jobs the best, and their understanding is valuable in determining hazards. Getting workers involved also helps reduce oversights, improves the quality of a JHA and gets employees to have a sense of ownership over the solutions, increasing the odds of compliance.

Employees should be asked about any dangers they're cognizant of in their work areas, and discuss solutions to get rid of or manage those hazards. If anything poses an immediate danger to a worker's life or health, act immediately to protect the employee.

Finally, observe workers doing their jobs and take apart the steps that comprise the job. It may be useful to take pictures or video of the employee executing the job to produce visual references for use throughout the evaluation.

Performing the JHA

In order to perform a consistent JHA across all jobs, a company should develop a form that includes a description of each individual task that is part of a particular job, the dangers linked to each task and potential remedies. For each task, the form should:

  • Describe the danger
  • Lay out potential consequences
  • Describe contributing factors
  • Describe the chances an accident might happen

OSHA also recommends recording other details related to the task that affect the chances an accident or injury might happen. These details might include:

  • The location of the hazard in the workplace
  • Who is at risk
  • Events that could cause or increase the chance of injury
  • Other factors that increase risk
  • Total damage or injury caused by an accident

Using a JHA to Eliminate or Mitigate Risk

After all the hazards and potential impacts have been assessed during the JHA, management should use this information to increase safety and reduce accident risk. Measures to eliminate or lower risk might include:

  • Physically removing the risk
  • Switching out the risk factor with a suitable replacement
  • Building guards or shields to restrict access to a dangerous space
  • Adjusting the work process
  • Requiring certain protective equipment

After any modifications or solutions are selected, management should communication all the changes company-wide. The company should then evaluate the success of any modifications by another inspection, which includes asking employees for feedback.

At Ambassador, one of the leading employment firms in the South, we value the safety of our contract employees and the companies they work with above all else. Please contact us if you’re looking to acquire some of the area’s top talent to meet your staffing needs.