In the Occupational Health and Safety industry, the purpose of a job safety analysis (JSA) is to identify the dangers of specific tasks within jobs in order to reduce the risk of injury to workers. They can help you meet safety standards, improve communication, aid in training, and prevent hazardous conditions.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 5,147 workers were killed on the job in 2017. That translates to just over 14 deaths every day. Though this is a drastic decrease from 50 years ago - an average of 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 - there is still room for improvement when it comes to safety in the workplace. This is where job safety analyses come in.
This article will discuss four benefits of JSA's that make it an important part of your safety program.
1. Meet safety standards
In addition to keeping your workers safe, complying with national safety regulations protects your company from legal and financial penalties. The OSHA standards violations most frequently cited in fiscal 2016, as reported by OSHA, were as follows:
- Fall protection.
- Hazard communication.
- Scaffolding, general requirements.
- Respiratory protection.
- Control of hazardous energy - lockout/tagout.
- Powered industrial trucks.
- Machinery and machine guarding.
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment.
- Electrical systems design, general requirements.
Completing a JSA is an opportunity to ensure that your company is meeting the standards laid out by OSHA, avoiding violations down the road. When conducting the JSA and identifying hazards (See our blog article on the 4 tasks of completing a JSA), we recommend utilizing OSHA standards to both identify hazards and to help provide you with solutions to mitigating those hazards.)
"The JSA process creates opportunities to improve communication in your workplace."
2. Improve communication
Completing a JSA generally requires input from multiple levels of your team. For example, safety professionals in conjunction with supervisors often create the initial JSA. They will then provide a review process for additional supervisors and employees to comment and review the JSA prior to finalizing the JSA.
This review and comment process encourages employees and managers to discuss safety issues without fear of any repercussion. This might result in the discovery of safety issues you were not aware of, or vice versa for employees.
Of course, such communication can only occur when employees are encouraged to participate in the JSA process. Safety + Health magazine recommended telling the employee that you're reviewing the task, rather than evaluating the performance. By doing so, you explain the JSA can only affect them in a positive way, allowing you to take advantage of your team's expertise.
3. JSA Forms Teach New Employees
When you hire a new worker, you need to onboard the person as efficiently as possible. According to a study by the Institute for Work & Health, during their first month, new employees are 3 times more likely to be involved in a lost-time injury than workers who have been at the job for more than a year.
Even when training sessions are finished, new employees often still take time to learn all the aspects of their new jobs at hand.
Completing JSAs helps to speed up this process because they creates teaching aids for these new team members. Employees can read the JSA for a complete breakdown of the steps required for each job, as well as information regarding any potential hazards.
4. Prevent hazardous conditions
Ultimately, the largest benefit of a JSA is also its purpose: to prevent accidents in the workplace. While meeting the safety standards set out by OSHA is a good starting place, those regulations don't necessarily address every potential hazard your workers may face. And preventing accidents isn't just good for your employees - it's good for your business too. OSHA reported that there were 3.0 accidents or sicknesses per every 100 workers in 2015. These sick or injured staff members must be replaced by temporary workers, cutting into your profit margin and workplace productivity.
Part of this process involves conducting a risk assessment of potential hazards within the job. For this, we recommend using a Risk Matrix guide, which you can download for free here: