Special Topics in Safety Management

Correcting Safety Problems Before They Cause Accidents

Yesterday, we featured strategies for investigating workplace accidents. Today, we focus on methods for correcting safety problems before they cause accidents.

There are two common procedures for identifying and correcting safety problems: change analysis and job safety analysis (also known as job hazard analysis or safety analysis).

Change Analysis

To solve a problem using the change analysis method, you must look for deviations from the norm. Consider all problems as resulting from some unanticipated change. Make an analysis of the change to determine its causes, following these steps:

  • Define the problem—what happened?
  • Establish the norm—what should have happened?
  • Identify, find, and describe the change—what, where, when, to what extent?
  • Specify what was and what was not affected.
  • Identify the distinctive features of the change
  • List the possible causes.
  • Select the most likely causes.

Job Safety Analysis

Job safety analysis (JSA) breaks a job into basic steps and identifies the hazards associated with each step. The JSA also prescribes controls for each hazard. A JSA is a chart listing these steps, hazards, and controls.

Review the JSA during any accident investigation. If a JSA has not been conducted, perform one as a part of the investigation to determine the events and conditions that led to the accident.


Accident investigations are an important component of any successful safety program, and the better, more comprehensive, and detailed they are the more useful they can be. BLR’s upcoming live webinar will show you how to conduct more effective accident investigations so that you can improve safety and prevent repeat incidents. And you don’t even have to leave your office! Click here for details.


A JSA can be conducted on many jobs in your workplace. Priority for conducting JSAs should go to the following types of jobs:

  • Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates
  • Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there is no history of previous accidents
  • Jobs in which one simple human error could lead to a severe accident or injury
  • Jobs that are new to your operation or have undergone changes in processes and procedures
  • Jobs complex enough to require written instructions

The JSA should include a review of statistical data to reveal trends and identify specific areas to concentrate accident prevention efforts. The data to analyze includes recordable injury logs, first-aid logs, safety inspections, accident investigation reports, and employee hazard reports. Look for similarities between the data and job location, type of equipment in use, time of day, and day of week.

The analysis should also look at when and where near misses have occurred. This analysis should include observations of employees performing tasks in hazard-prone areas and documentation of the observations.

Once the analysis is completed and hazards have been identified, corrective actions can be developed and implemented. Corrective actions may include steps such as:

  • Finding a new way to do a job
  • Changing the physical conditions that create the hazard
  • A change in job procedures
  • Reducing the necessity or frequency of the high hazard job or task

Remember that any corrective measures must include training to increase safety awareness and provide employees with the tools to recognize and eliminate hazards.


Join us on December 18 for an in-depth webinar when our presenter, a seasoned safety professional who has helped many companies develop and implement a world-class accident investigation program, will provide you with the roadmap and tools to achieve similar success. Learn More.


Prevent Accidents with Better Investigations

Accident investigations are another important component of any successful safety program, and the better, more comprehensive, and detailed they are the more useful they can be.

Some companies have established excellent accident investigation processes. They train participants well, execute their processes to the letter and implement and track their findings to closure. Their accident statistics, workers’ compensation costs, and employee morale often reflect the fruits of their efforts.

Their success is no small feat because a lot goes into the accident investigation process, from collecting information and establishing facts, analyzing all causes, developing corrective actions, and reporting data and recommendations to implementing corrective actions and monitoring.

The problem is that many companies don’t have across-the-board success in each of these areas. Perhaps the team has had little or no training to handle the investigation or the implementation is poor when it does occur. Or, maybe they aren’t properly tracking to assure that corrective actions are actually being performed—often times, organizations miss the mark in executing this important step.

Having one or more accident investigation process deficiencies can have disastrous—and potentially perpetual—consequences, including more accidents, increased workers’ compensation costs, and deflated employee morale. Don’t get stuck in the “Groundhog Day” cycle!

Join us on December 18 for an in-depth webinar when our presenter, a seasoned safety professional who has helped many companies develop and implement a world-class accident investigation program, will provide you with the roadmap and tools to achieve similar success.

You and your colleagues will learn:

  • The elements and benefits of a successful accident investigation process
  • The fundamentals and crucial definitions to learn, including accident, outcome, contributory factors, accident types, accident causes
  • How to establish an effective accident investigation team
    Methods and tools available for identifying the cause(s) of an accident
  • Five key steps in a successful accident investigation process
  • Six key questions to answer during an effective accident investigation process
  • An accident investigation example that demonstrate a successful process
  • Why some accident investigations fail
  • Ways to identify and evaluate resources to help you develop and implement a successful accident investigation process

About Your Presenter

Michael Lawrence is principal of Summit Safety Technologies based in Long Beach, California. Mr. Lawrence is an accomplished safety manager and technical trainer, and has been training adult workers and safety professionals for many years. He is a frequent speaker and is recognized for his expert knowledge of safety regulations, safety management systems, business continuation planning, emergency preparedness, and quality management systems.

Mr. Lawrence has more than 30 years experience in safety management, technical training, instructional design, and quality management, with skills that were honed during his 16 years in the semiconductor manufacturing industry and 14 years in Naval Aviation. With more than three decades of experience as a frontline worker, supervisor, manager, and business owner, he brings a refreshing down-to-earth approach in the effective sharing of knowledge and experience.

Mr. Lawrence is certified in Safety & Health Systems for Small Business, Instructional Design, and as a Performance Based Equipment Trainer (PBET).

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