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How to create a job hazard analysis

November 30, 2022
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Taking time out of your busy schedule to assess workplace hazards takes a bit of effort and planning. But the payoff for you and your team makes it well worth it in the long run.

When you are proactive with a job hazard analysis, it eliminates guesswork by forcing you to take deliberate action, including identifying and mitigating dangerous situations. It also signals to your employees you genuinely care about them and their well-being.

Read on for important tips for conducting a successful job hazard analysis.

What is a job hazard analysis?

A job hazard analysis breaks up a job or activity into tasks and identifies the hazards associated with each task. It's also known as a job safety analysis or pre-task analysis. The goal is to eliminate or minimize risk and potential dangers before employees actually do their job.

When you're not sure exactly what your team needs to do their job safely, this analysis gives you all the information you need to create a comprehensive plan into action, even with limited details.

Which jobs benefit the most from a job hazard analysis?

Job hazard analyses are helpful for every type of activity, but if you have limited time or resources, you may want to prioritize jobs that fall into these categories:

  • Higher incidence of injuries or near misses
  • Increased potential for serious injuries
  • Complex processes
  • Recently changed job description
  • New hires on the job

Key components of a job hazard analysis

The first step is planning the analysis so you can observe the job or activity being performed at its usual location and time.

Make sure to involve your team in the process along the way. Explain how you're evaluating the job and not their performance, and use the exercise as a learning opportunity for everyone involved.

Once scheduled, follow these steps during the observation:

  1. Divide each job into a series of tasks and document them, using photos or videos if helpful
  2. Make a list of potential hazards associated with each task, considering the possible scenarios of what could go wrong and the likelihood of each
  3. Identify specific ways to mitigate each individual hazard, ideally eliminating the risk at its source
  4. Review your findings with your team to make sure you didn't overlook anything
  5. Plan to revisit your job hazard analysis at least once a year and after any workplace injuries

Address the hazards

If you can't remove the hazards entirely, choose and implement controls from the hierarchy of controls that are the most feasible and effective. This might look like engineering controls, administrative controls, and providing more PPE. Consider upgrades like improving work processes, training workers, and adjusting lighting or ventilation.

Benefits of a job hazard analysis

By far the most important result of a job hazard analysis is creating a safer workplace for all. Making sure your employees have everything they need to work safely is key.

The process will also foster better communication between supervisors and employees. And a defined and consistent process will help new employees get acclimated more quickly. Job hazard analyses also help with accident investigations, and eliminate or save on fines.

Pinnacol Assurance assumes no responsibility for management or control of customer safety activities. Please ensure your business meets the requirements of all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances related to workplace safety.

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