Conducting the Job Hazard Analysis

Before you actually begin, take a look at the general conditions under which the job is performed and develop a checklist. Below are some sample questions you might ask.
  • Are there materials on the floor that could trip a worker?
  • Is lighting adequate?
  • Are there any live electrical hazards at the jobsite?
  • Are there any explosive hazards associated with the job or likely to develop?
  • Are tools, including hand tools, machines and equipment in need of repair?
  • Is there excessive noise in the work area, hindering worker communication?
  • Is fire protection equipment readily accessible and have employees been trained to use it?
  • Are emergency exits clearly marked?
  • Are trucks or motorized vehicles properly equipped with brakes, overhead guards, backup signals, horns, steering gear and identification, as necessary?
  • Are all employees operating vehicles and equipment properly trained and authorized?
  • Are employees wearing proper personal protective equipment for the jobs they are performing?
  • Have any employees complained of headaches, breathing problems, dizziness, or strong odors?
  • Is ventilation adequate, especially in confined spaces?
  • Have tests been made for oxygen deficiency and toxic fumes?
Naturally, this list is by no means complete because each worksite has its own requirements and environmental conditions. You should add your own questions to the list. You might also take photographs of the workplace, if appropriate, for use in making a more detailed analysis of the work environment.

Involve Your Employees

It is very important to involve your employees in the hazard analysis process. They have a unique understanding of the job, and this knowledge is invaluable for finding hazards. Involving employees will help minimize oversights, ensure a quality analysis, and get workers to "buy in" to the solutions because they will share ownership in their safety and health program.

Review Your Accident History

Review your worksite's history of accidents and occupational illnesses that needed treatment, losses that required repair or replacement, and any "near misses," that is, events in which an accident or loss did not occur, but could have. These events are indicators that the existing hazard controls (if any) may not be adequate and deserve more scrutiny.

Conduct a Preliminary Job Review

Discuss with your employees the hazards they know exist in their current work and surroundings. Brainstorm with them for ideas to eliminate or control those hazards. If any hazards exist that pose an immediate danger to an employee's life or health, take immediate action to protect the worker.
Any problems that can be corrected easily should be corrected as soon as possible. Do not wait to complete your job hazard analysis. This will demonstrate your commitment to safety and health and enable you to focus on the hazards and jobs that need more study because of their complexity. For those hazards determined to present unacceptable risks, evaluate types of hazard controls.

List, Rank, and Set Priorities for Hazardous Jobs

List jobs with hazards that present unacceptable risks, based on those most likely to occur and with the most severe consequences. These jobs should be your first priority for analysis.

Break Down the Job

Nearly every job can be broken down into job tasks or steps. When beginning a job hazard analysis, watch the employee perform the job and list each step as it is taken. Be sure to record enough information to describe each job action without getting overly detailed.
Avoid making the breakdown of steps so detailed that it becomes unnecessarily long or so broad that it does not include basic steps. You may find it valuable to get input from others who have performed the same job.
Later, review the job steps with the employee to make sure you have not omitted something. Point out that you are evaluating the job itself, not the employee's job performance. Include the employee in all phases of the analysis — from reviewing the job steps and procedures to discussing uncontrolled hazards and recommended solutions.
Sometimes, in conducting a job hazard analysis, it may be helpful to photograph or videotape the worker performing the job. These visual records can be handy references when doing a more detailed analysis of the work.

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