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Analyse the job to promote safety

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To use a line from one of the best movies, “I’m Back!” Sometimes the best things happen to those who wait. I have returned to the ranks of the gainfully employed and I’m very thankful for it. I hope it means that others are returning to work also. We have had too many good people idle for too long. Being idle is frustrating, but keep the faith.

Meanwhile, back in the wonderful world of safety…

Whatever your job task, you need be sure it can be accomplished safely. That means we should take the time to break down that task into specific steps and try to identify the hazards associated with that step. Simply put, you ask yourself, “What am I doing and how can I get hurt doing it?”

When we create the hazard analysis, or safety analysis, we identify the steps to do the job, the risks associated with it and protective measures needed. The best way to develop the analysis is by including the workers that do that kind of job. These folks know what could go wrong and when, an excellent resource to have.

First question is; do I need to perform a formal “Job Hazard Analysis”? The OSHA answer is, yes you do.

1910.132(d) Hazard assessment and equipment selection
(2)The employer shall verify that the required workplace hazard assessment has been performed through a written certification that identifies the workplace evaluated; the person certifying that the evaluation has been performed; the date(s) of the hazard assessment; and, which identifies the document as a certification of hazard assessment.

A Job Hazard Analysis (or “Job Safety Analysis”, JSA) focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards and minimize them before they occur. We need to consider the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. After you identify uncontrolled hazards, you take the steps to eliminate or reduce them. You can identify known hazards and discover unknown risks when developing a JSA.

Many workers are injured and killed at the workplace every day in the United States. You can help prevent workplace injuries and illnesses by evaluating your workplace operations, including safety in procedures, and ensuring that all employees are trained properly. By including the workforce in the development of the JSA, it gives ownership in the process. There is a certain pride in that ownership.

The value of a JSA is revealed as we identify a hazard, eliminate it, and reduce the exposure to the workers. When workers feel safe doing their assigned tasks, their productivity is increased. Confident workers are less likely to want to take shortcuts and that reduces injuries and illnesses and those associated costs. The analysis also can be a valuable tool for training new employees in the steps required to perform their jobs safely. Fewer incidents, increased worker confidence, reduced insurance costs, and increased production, all add up and are benefits for employee and employer.

But remember, for a JSA to be effective, management must be committed to safety and follow through to correct any hazard identified. Otherwise, management will lose credibility and employees may hesitate to go to management when dangerous conditions threaten them.

I'll go into more detail of what goes into your JSA later.

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