5 Essential Steps for Successful JHA

Special Topics in Safety Management
by ckilbourne

Job hazard analysis (JHA) can generally be summarized in 5 basic steps. All these steps are important, which means no step can be skipped if you want effective and reliable results.

Step 1. Watch the work being done. Evaluate all aspects of the job task, even those performed infrequently. Observe more than one employee. Observe more than one shift. Take enough time to fully understand what the worker is actually doing.

Step 2: Break the job down into parts. Most tasks involve a sequence of discrete steps. But don’t go overboard. If you break a job down into too many minute parts, the JHA will be too complex and hard to work with. Simplify. Rule of thumb: limit the number of components to 10 or less.

Step 3: Describe hazards in each step. Once the components have been identified, then the hazards for each must be identified and described. Consider physical hazards, environmental conditions, ergonomic hazards, etc.

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It’s true that all of these are valid steps in the process of changing a light bulb. But you can easily simplify and combine steps to make the JHA more manageable. For example:

  • Get ladder and new light bulb.
  • Set up ladder properly under light fixture.
  • Climb and descend the ladder safely.
  • Change bulb.
  • Put equipment, tools, and supplies away.

Of course, too little detail may omit hazards. Here is an example of the light bulb JHA that has too little detail:

  • Get a ladder.
  • Change bulb.
  • Put ladder away and throw out old light bulb.

Tomorrow, 22 questions to ask about JHA tasks.



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