According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015. That translates to just over 13 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.
A job safety analysis (JSA), is a process to identify the dangers of specific tasks within jobs in order to reduce the risk of injury to workers, and can also provide the following four benefits as well:
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 JSA and then will provide a review process for additional supervisors and employees to comment and review the JSA prior to finalizing the JSA.
Consequently, the process creates opportunities to improve the communication of your workplace. Safety + Health magazine recommended telling the employee that you're reviewing the task, rather than evaluating the performance. By doing so, you can take advantage of your team's expertise as well as your own.
3. Create a teaching aid
When you hire a new worker, you need to onboard the person as efficiently as possible. Completing JSAs 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.