Job Hazard Analysis

A Job Hazard Analysis or JHA is a process for breaking down a task or process into its component steps and then evaluating each step for hazards. Each hazard is then corrected or a method of worker protection (safe practice or PPE) is identified. Additional requirements such as worker training, certification, authorization, or additional supervision may also be identified.  While the analyses for some tasks are very detailed, for many tasks a thorough review of the operation or work plans by the affected people is usually sufficient. The final product of a JHA is a written document outlining the safe operation for a particular task or process.

Potential benefits of the Job Hazard Analysis process include:

  • Protection of employees
  • Reduction of injuries
  • Establishes performance standards
  • Standardizes operations based on acceptable safe practices and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Provides training documentation regarding a worker's knowledge of the job requirements
  • Assists in compliance with regulatory requirements

For more information about conducting a Job Hazard Analysis, contact an EHS Staff member or follow the links below:

Identifying Workplace Hazards

A Job Hazard Analysis is an exercise in detective work. Your goal is to discover the following:

  • What can go wrong?
  • What are the consequences?
  • How could it arise?
  • What are other contributing factors?
  • How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

To make your job hazard analysis useful, document the answers to these questions in a consistent manner. Describing a hazard in this way helps to ensure that your efforts to eliminate the hazard and implement hazard controls help target the most important contributors to the hazard.

Good hazard scenarios describe:

  • Where it is happening (environment),
  • Who or what it is happening to (exposure),
  • What precipitates the hazard (trigger),
  • The outcome that would occur should it happen (consequence), and
  • Any other contributing factors.

A sample form found in Resources should help you organize your information to provide these details.

Rarely is a hazard a simple case of one singular cause resulting in one singular effect. More frequently, many contributing factors tend to line up in a certain way to create the hazard. Here is an example of a hazard scenario:

In the metal shop (environment), while clearing a snag (trigger), a worker's hand (exposure) comes into contact with a rotating pulley. It pulls his hand into the machine and severely injures his fingers (consequences) quickly.

Performing a Job Hazard Analysis

To perform a job hazard analysis, you should ask the following questions about the task you are about to perform:

  • What can go wrong? The worker's hand could come into contact with a rotating object that "catches" it and pulls it into the machine.
  • What are the consequences? The worker could receive a severe injury.
  • How could it happen? The accident could happen as a result of the worker trying to clear a snag during operations or as part of a maintenance activity while the pulley is operating. Obviously, this hazard scenario could not occur if the pulley is not rotating.
  • What are other contributing factors? This hazard occurs very quickly. It does not give the worker much opportunity to recover or prevent it once his hand comes into contact with the pulley. This is an important factor, because it helps you determine the severity and likelihood of an accident when selecting appropriate hazard controls. Unfortunately, experience has shown that training is not very effective in hazard control when triggering events happen quickly because humans can react only so quickly.
  • How likely is it that the hazard will occur? This determination requires some judgment. If there have been "near-misses" or actual cases, then the likelihood of a recurrence would be considered high. If the pulley is exposed and easily accessible, that also is a consideration. In the example, the likelihood that the hazard will occur is high because there is no guard preventing contact, and the operation is performed while the machine is running. By following the steps in this example, you can organize your hazard analysis activities.

Controlling or Eliminating Hazards

Information obtained during a job hazard analysis is is used to incorporate hazard control measures into a task. Cerain hazard controls are more effective than others at reducing the risk. The order of precedence and effectiveness of hazard control is the following:

  1. Engineering controls.
  2. Administrative controls.
  3. Personal protective equipment.

Engineering controls include:

  • Elimination/minimization of the hazard -- Designing the facility, equipment, or process to remove the hazard, or substituting processes, equipment, or materials to reduce the hazard;
  • Enclosure of the hazard using enclosed cabs, enclosures for noisy equipment, or other methods;
  • Isolation of the hazard with interlocks, machine guards, blast shields, welding curtains, or other methods; or
  • Removal or redirection of the hazard such as with local and exhaust ventilation.

Administrative controls include:

  • Written operating procedures, work permits, and safe work practices;
  • Exposure time limitations (used most commonly to control temperature extremes and ergonomic hazards);
  • Monitoring the use of highly hazardous materials;
  • Alarms, signs, and warnings;
  • Buddy system; or
  • Training.

Personal Protective Equipment such as respirators, hearing protection, protective clothing, safety glasses, and hardhats is acceptable as a control method in the following circumstances:

  • When engineering controls are not feasible or do not totally eliminate the hazard;
  • While engineering controls are being developed;
  • When safe work practices do not provide sufficient additional protection; or
  • During emergencies when engineering controls may not be feasible.

After reviewing the list of hazards, consider what control methods will eliminate or reduce them. The most effective controls are engineering controls that physically change a machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the hazard. The more reliable or less likely a hazard control can be circumvented, the better. If this is not feasible, administrative controls may be appropriate. This may involve changing how the task is performed.

Discuss your recommendations with all employees who perform the job and consider their responses carefully. If you plan to introduce new or modified job procedures, be sure they understand what they are required to do and the reasons for the changes.

Example of Completed Job Hazard Analysis

Grinding Iron Castings: Job Steps

Step 1. Reach into metal box to right of machine, grasp casting, and carry to wheel.

Step 2. Push casting against wheel to grind off burr.

Step 3. Place finished casting in box to left of machine.

Example of completed Job Hazard Analysis for Step 1 of the task

Task Description: Worker reaches into metal box to the right of the machine, grasps a 15-pound casting and carries it to grinding wheel. Worker grinds 20 to 30 castings per hour.

Hazard Description: Picking up a casting, the employee could drop it onto his foot. The casting's weight and height could seriously injure the worker's foot or toes.

Hazard Controls: Remove castings from the box and place them on a table next to the grinder. Wear steel-toe shoes with arch protection. Change protective gloves that allow a better grip. Use a device to pick up castings.

Task Description: Worker reaches into metal box to the right of the machine, grasps a 15-pound casting and carries it to grinding wheel. Worker grinds 20 to 30 castings per hour.

Hazard Description: Castings have sharp burrs and edges that can cause severe lacerations.

Hazard Controls: Use a device such as a clamp to pick up castings. Wear cut-resistant gloves that allow a good grip and fit tightly to minimize the chance that they will get caught in grinding wheel.

Task Description: Worker reaches into metal box to the right of the machine, grasps a 15-pound casting and carries it to grinding wheel. Worker grinds 20 to 30 castings per hour.

Hazard Description: Reaching, twisting, and lifting 15-pound castings from the floor could result in a muscle strain to the lower back.

Hazard Controls: Move castings from the ground and place them closer to the work zone to minimize lifting. Ideally, place them at waist height or on an adjustable platform or pallet. Train workers not to twist while lifting and reconfigure work stations to minimize twisting during lifts.