Steps to a Job Safety Analysis

All jobs come with some safety hazards, from the lack of an ergonomic keyboard in an office setting to the risk of arc flash when operating heavy electronic equipment. A job hazard analysis (also known as a job safety analysis) helps identify and mitigate potential hazards and the risk of injury.

What is a Job Safety Analysis?

A job safety analysis identifies the sequential tasks that make up a job, examining them for potential dangers and at-risk behavior, and using that information to reduce the risk of injuries. OSHA requires a job safety analysis for any job requiring the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Employers may also perform job safety analysis on non-PPE jobs to improve workplace safety. 

Questions a job safety analysis seeks to answer include:

  • What can go wrong?
  • What are the consequences should something go wrong?
  • How could a hazardous event occur?
  • What contributing factors influence potential hazards?
  • How likely is the risk of accident or injury?

How do I Complete a Job Safety Analysis?

To begin any job safety analysis, identify any OSHA standards apply to your jobs, so you can incorporate OSHA requirements into your job hazard analysis. Prioritized which jobs to analyze first. Generally the most pressing are jobs where the rate or potential for injury or illness is high. Other indications that a job should receive priority include:

  • Jobs where simple errors can result in severe injury or death.
  • Complex jobs that require written instructions.
  • Newly implemented processes or processes that recently underwent changes.
  • Infrequently performed jobs.
  • Jobs where there have been “close calls.”
  • Jobs with you have identified OSHA violations. 

Break each job down into a sequence of tasks. Ideally, each job should include a maximum of ten steps. If a job requires more steps, consider breaking into two jobs, each with its own breakdown of tasks.

To properly break down the steps in each job, observation is required. A professional EHS supervisor should observe as an experienced employee performs the job. This facilitates the identification of potential hazards while ensuring “minor” tasks such as setting up equipment, checking PPE, and clean up are included in the job breakdown.

The identification of hazards is best done while observations are fresh. If necessary, have the employee repeat the job several times to ensure all possible hazards are revealed. Using work management software allows you to store data as you record the job breakdown, and take videos of the job as visual aids. From there, develop preventative measures using the hierarchy of controls:

  • Elimination: Physically remove the hazard,
  • Substitution: Replace the hazard with a safer alternative,
  • Engineering Controls: Isolate the hazard from employees,
  • Administrative controls: Change the way people work around the hazard,
  • PPE: Use personal protective equipment around the hazard.

Document your findings, and make the document available to employees so they understand potential hazards and any preventative measures needed to keep people safe. Periodically review your job safety analysis to ensure they are up-to-date.

Job Hazard Analysis Checklist

Every job is different, and each must be carefully inspected for potential hazards. That being said, the following job hazard analysis checklist can help you identify and mitigate some possible job-related risks:

  • Are there materials, obstacles, or uneven surfaces that represent a tripping or falling risk?
  • Is lighting adequate for the safe completion of the task?
  • Are live electrical hazards present?
  • Does equipment have pinch points or crush points?
  • Can the job lead to exposure to chemical, physical, biological, or radiation hazards?
  • Are all equipment, tools, and PPE in good repair?
  • Is worksite noise capable of causing hearing damage or interfering with safety-critical communication?
  • Are emergency exits clearly marked?
  • Are all trucks, forklifts, or motorized vehicles equipped with well-maintained brakes, overhead guards, backup signals, horns, steering gear, and identification?
  • Are all employees operating equipment or vehicles properly trained and certified?
  • Is existing PPE appropriate for the job?
  • Is ventilation adequate (especially in confined or enclosed spaces)?
  • Is there a risk of fire, electrical fires, or explosions?


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