Job Hazard Analysis Can Be Key to Broader Workplace Safety

By Defining Risk, Safety Managers Can Reduce Accidents

Job Hazard Analysis

If you are working for a contractor, you need to know how to properly write a job hazard analysis (JHA). The JHA sets the stage for a job with fewer mistakes and no accidents, gives owners or general managers an opportunity to evaluate safety preparations, and helps determine what further training is needed.

A JHA is an essential foundational element to a successful project and effects every stakeholder —from safety managers, project managers, engineers, and contractors to field superintendents, foremen, planners, estimators, human resource managers, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance officers, and others.

You Can’t Eliminate Risks You Haven’t Identified

You first must understand where and how mistakes and accidents happen. “Once you know what the hazards are, you can reduce or eliminate them before anyone gets hurt,” notes the Maine Department of Labor. “The JHA can also be used to investigate accidents and to train workers how to do their jobs safely.”

Start here: OSHA’s job hazard analysis primer explains the process to implement a JHA. OSHA suggests that you begin this way:

  • Involve your employees to minimize oversight and earn buy-in on the program
  • Review your accident history, including any near-misses
  • Do a preliminary job review: ask employees about known risks and ways to eliminate them
  • List, rank, and set priorities for hazardous jobs
  • Break the job down into tasks or steps to then review with employees

Another resource: The Office of Environment, Health & Safety at the University of California, Berkeley, has created a one-page sample hazard analysis template.

A Written Analysis Does Not Ensure a Culture of Safety

But your safety work is not complete just because you have a JHA! While the JHA is a good start, it does not ensure safety, Adam Croskey, the director of safety for JLG Global Manufacturing, warned in his article, “. Instead, companies need to show real commitment from all levels of management for that to happen.

“Creating a culture of safety takes time and begins with real commitment from all levels of management—not just a Safety First sign as you enter the building or verbal commitment to safety by the CEO or facility manager, but an active commitment that leadership demonstrates every day in the decisions they make and the actions they take,” Crocksey wrote. “The decision to make safety a priority must be fully supported, encouraged, and rewarded by managers and executives to consistently reinforce that making safe decisions is most important among all levels of leadership.”

Make Safety a Team Endeavor–and Reap Rewards

Safety cannot be the domain of just a JHA and a select few people in the organization—it must be a team goal, explains Claims Journal writer Denise Johnson in the article “.”  That culture, she wrote, can be stymied by certain roadblocks:

  • Bias confirmation—seeking evidence which reinforces your perceptions
  • Sense of normalcy—since something bad hasn’t happened, it probably won’t
  • Risk compensation—taking more risks when things seem safe

OSHA rewards good work, too. The agency notes on its that “certain exemplary employers may request participation in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).”

If you’re accepted into SHARP, you may receive an exemption from programmed inspections for one or two years.

Jeff Schmerker
About Jeff Schmerker
Jeff has extensive professional experience writing on a variety of topics, from pharmaceutical research to environmental history. He has published more than a half-dozen books, and he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and restaurant reviewer. He lives in Missoula, Montana with his wife and son.