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Job Safety Analysis, The Cornerstone of Occupational Safety

what is job safety analysis

Picture this: a workplace where safety isn't a rulebook buried on a shelf but a vibrant force that shields lives, sparks productivity, and powers success. Picture this: a workplace where safety isn't a rulebook buried on a shelf but a vibrant force that shields lives, sparks productivity, and powers success. In every workplace, the safety and well-being of employees must always stand as the paramount priority.

Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is a structured procedure that dissects every job or task into key training sequences, identifies safety elements within each step, and instructs employees on how to steer clear of potential safety hazards. Its main objective is to secure workplace safety by systematically identifying and minimizing potential hazards associated with specific tasks. Also known as Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), this methodology is widely embraced across industries to prevent accidents, injuries, and occupational health concerns.

Job Safety Analysis (JSA) 

Benefits of Job Safety Analysis

Accident Prevention

Through a systematic identification of hazards and assessment of risks, JSA aims to forestall workplace accidents and injuries. This proactive strategy significantly curtails the likelihood of incidents taking place.


Enhancing Safety Culture

Within organizational frameworks, JSA promotes a proactive safety culture by enlisting employees in the analysis process, empowering them to spot and address hazards. The inclusive approach of JSA encourages a collective dedication to upholding safety standards.


Efficiency and Productivity

Implementing JSA holds the promise of boosting task efficiency by refining processes and enforcing safer work practices. This strategy effectively minimizes interruptions arising from accidents or injuries, thereby amplifying overall productivity.


Compliance and Legal Requirements

Regulatory obligations in numerous industries demand risk evaluations and safety precautions. JSA serves as a tool for organizations to fulfill these mandates, sidestepping possible legal ramifications.


Benefits of Job Safety Analysis


The Process of Job Safety Analysis 

JSA involves a structured approach to breaking down job tasks into individual steps and analyzing associated hazards, potential risks, and preventive measures. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website identifies four basic steps: 

  • 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

Selecting the Job to be Analyzed

In an ideal scenario, every job would undergo JSA. However. this may not be practical due to the time and effort involved in conducting a JSA. Moreover, revisions are essential whenever there are changes in equipment, materials, processes, or the environment. Therefore, it's crucial to prioritize and determine which jobs require analysis, ensuring that the most critical ones are examined first, even if there's a plan for a comprehensive job analysis.

  • Considerations for establishing the precedence in job analysis involve:

  • Accident occurrence and severity: jobs with frequent accidents or infrequent yet severe incidents resulting in injuries.

  • Potential for severe injuries or illnesses: the aftermath of accidents, risky conditions, or exposure to harmful substances can lead to severe consequences.

  • Recently created positions: lacking experience in these roles may obscure or fail to anticipate hazards.

  • Altered positions: changes in job protocols may introduce new hazards.

  • Rarely executed tasks: employees might face higher risks in non-routine tasks, making JSA a valuable tool for hazard review.


The Process of Job Safety Analysis 

Breaking the Job Down into a Sequence of Steps

When you break down a carefully selected job into steps, precision is crucial. Overly general steps may overlook task-specific hazards, while excessive detail can lead to an impractical number of steps.  Typically, most jobs can be outlined in fewer than ten steps. If more steps are essential, consider segmenting the job or consolidating steps. 

Remember the crucial importance of maintaining the correct sequence of steps. Any misplacement may overlook critical hazards or introduce non-existent risks.


Identifying Potential Hazards

Once the foundational steps are noted, the focus shifts to identifying potential hazards at each step. Drawing on job observations, knowledge of accident causes, and personal experience, outline potential issues at every stage. A second job observation might also be necessary. The aim at this stage is solely to detect problems without addressing them.

For the purpose of spotting potential hazards, the job analyst might employ questions similar to these (please note, this isn't a complete list):

  • Could any body part become trapped in or between objects?

  • Do tools, machinery, or equipment pose any potential hazards?

  • Is there a risk of the worker coming into harmful contact with moving objects?

  • Is there a potential for the worker to slip, trip, or fall?

  • Could the worker experience strain from lifting, pushing, or pulling?

  • Is the worker exposed to extreme heat or cold?

  • Does excessive noise or vibration present a concern?

  • Is there a risk of injury from falling objects?

  • Is there a need for improved lighting?

  • Could weather conditions impact safety?

  • Is there a possibility of harmful radiation exposure?

  • Could the worker come into contact with hot, toxic, or corrosive substances?

  • Are there airborne dusts, fumes, mists, or vapours that pose a risk?


There are a variety of hazards that may be presented and can be categorized as chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic. The table below provides example hazards associated with each category.

occupational hazards cheminal ergonomic physical biological

Determining Preventive Measures

The final step of a JSA entails devising strategies to eliminate or regulate the identified hazards. Typically, the preferred measures are categorized in the following order:

1. Eliminate the hazard

Hazards can be eliminated by choosing a different process, modifying the current process, substituting the current product with a less hazardous product, improving the working environment, and modifying/improving equipment and/or tools. 

2. Contain the hazard

In cases where eliminating the hazard isn't viable, preventing contact could involve the utilization of enclosures, machine guards, worker booths, or comparable devices.

3. Revise work procedures

Consider modifying risky steps, altering their sequence, or including extra steps.

4. Reduce the exposure

These actions are the least effective and should be considered only if no other alternatives exist. Lowering the frequency of exposure to the hazard is one means of minimizing exposure. Using appropriate personal protective equipment might be necessary.  Emergency amenities, such as eyewash stations, might also need to be provided to mitigate incident severity.


After the Job Safety Analysis 

After the Job Safety Analysis 

JSA proves valuable in spotting hazards, empowering workers to remove or manage them. After completion, the analysis outcomes should be conveyed to all workers involved in that task. Instead of the side-by-side structure in JSA worksheets, we recommend using a narrative communication style for better results. 

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