March 2013 - Job Hazard Analysis

When conducting a job safety analysis, be sure to consult the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for your industry. Compliance with these standards are mandatory, and by incorporating their requirements in your job hazard analysis, you can be sure that your health and safety program meets federal standards. OSHA standards, regulations, and technical information are available online atWhen conducting a job safety analysis, be sure to consult the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for your industry. Compliance with these standards are mandatory, and by incorporating their requirements in your job hazard analysis, you can be sure that your health and safety program meets federal standards. OSHA standards, regulations, and technical information are available online at www.osha.gov.

What is a hazard?
A hazard is the potential for harm. In practical terms, a hazard often is associated with a condition or activity that, if left uncontrolled, can result in an injury or illness.

What is a job hazard analysis?
A job hazard analysis is a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. Ideally, after you identify uncontrolled hazards, you will take steps to eliminate or reduce them to an acceptable risk level.

Why is job hazard analysis important?
Many workers are injured and killed at the workplace every day in the United States. Safety and health can add value to your business, your job, and your life. You can help prevent workplace injuries and illnesses by looking at your workplace operations, establishing proper job procedures, and ensuring that all employees are trained properly.

What is the value of a job hazard analysis?
Supervisors can use the findings of a job hazard analysis to eliminate and prevent hazards in their workplaces. This is likely to result in fewer worker injuries and illnesses; safer, more effective work methods; reduced workers' compensation costs; and increased worker productivity. The analysis also can be a valuable tool for training new employees in the steps required to perform their jobs safely.

For a job hazard analysis to be effective, management must demonstrate its commitment to safety and health and follow through to correct any uncontrolled hazards identified. Otherwise, management will lose credibility and employees may hesitate to go to management when dangerous conditions threaten them.

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.