How to Do a Job Hazard Analysis: 4 Essential Steps


job hazard analysis (JHA) image Not that long ago, we wrote a blog post titled What Is a JHA? That post was such a big hit we've created this second post. It walks you though the steps of performing a JHA, and even includes a free downloadable guide to performing JHAs at the bottom.

This guide for performing a JHA incorporates suggestions made in OSHA’s Job Hazard Analysis booklet (OSHA 3071, revised in 2002). We think you'll find it useful when you perform JHAs at your worksite.

Performing JHAs at work will improve your safety record and general EHS compliance. So let's get started with our tips on how to do a job hazard analysis.

How Can I Get Started With a Job Hazard Analysis?

Before you begin the JHA for a specific job, do the following.

Get your employees involved.

Safety works best when management and employees are both involved. That's true of the JHA process as well. Remember, it's their job, and they probably know it better than you do. This will also help you get their buy-in for this process and for safety in general. Plus, two sets of eyes (or more) are always better than one.

For more on getting your employees involved in all aspects of safety, check our articles on Best Practices for Safety and Health Management and the Roles of Management and Employees in Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS).

Review your history of injuries, illnesses, near misses, and machine/tool damage.

Go over your written records of injuries, illnesses, near-misses, and incidents that have required machine/tool replacement or repair. Then, get feedback from your employees, asking if there are things that have occurred but are not in the records. (Make it clear you're trying to make work conditions safer, not punish anyone because something hasn't been reported.)

Your OSHA reporting logs may prove helpful here, and if you have one, your incident management software may as well.

Ask your employees which hazards exist in their work area.

Ask your employees if they're aware of hazards in their work area. Write them down--you can use this list later when you're performing the JHA.

Note: If a serious hazard comes to light at this point, stop what's you're doing and correct the problem before you continue with the JHA process.

Create a list that prioritizes the jobs for which you'll perform a Job Hazard Analysis.

It's great if you do a JHA for every job, but you should do JHAs for the jobs with the highest risks first. Take the information you've already gathered and prioritize the order in which you'll perform the JHAs.

To prioritize jobs this way, you may find the information in this Risk Management article helpful.

With these steps down, you're now ready to complete the formal JHA process, described below.

Steps of the Job Hazard Analysis Process

Once you've completed the introductory steps above, it's time to begin the formal JHA process for a given job. Here's how to do a job hazard analysis:

Step 1: Begin the JHA for a specific job by breaking the job down into the steps or tasks performed while doing the job.

Here are some ways to do this:

  • Watch an employee performing the job.
  • Ask the employee what the various steps are--the employee may have some good insight here, but remember that the employee may leave out some steps because they're "automatic" to him or her.
  • Ask other employees who have performed the job to list or review the steps.
  • Film the employee while the employee performs the jobs--this will help you identify the steps.

Write these steps down anyway you want. It's common to create a JHA form that represents each task of a given job, plus a description of the task, the hazards, and potential hazard controls. There's a sample form for this in OSHA's JHA document. And our guide at at the bottom of this post, which you can download, includes forms you can use for this too.

Step 2: Identify and list the hazards associated with each task (do one task first, then another, etc.)

Consider every possible thing that could go wrong. How could the worker be injured or be made ill? How could machines or equipment be damaged? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What could go wrong?
  • What could cause that thing/those things to go wrong?
  • What other factors could contribute to that thing/those things going wrong?
  • What would happen if that thing/those things did go wrong?
  • How likely is it that that thing/those things will go wrong?

Our downloadable guide at the bottom of this article includes a table that lists common hazard types. You may this very helpful when you're trying to identify hazards.

Step 3: Write a hazard description (also called a hazard scenario).

Write a description of each hazard in a consistent, orderly manner that will help ensure you will later put in steps to control the hazard and create the best possible controls.

A good hazard description should include the following items.

  • Environment: where does this hazard exist?
  • Exposure: who or what might be injured or made ill by this hazard?
  • Trigger: what event might cause the hazard to lead to an injury or illness?
  • Contributing factors: are there other factors that might contribute to cause the hazard to lead to an injury or illness?
  • Outcome/consequence: what would be the result if the hazard were to occur?

Here's a one-screen sample from Convergence Training's Online Job Hazard Analysis training course that explains the hazard description and gives an example.

Step 4: Create a plan for controlling each hazard associated with each task.

Once you've written the hazard descriptions, now it's time to brainstorm some hazard controls so the hazard never really does lead to an injury or illness. And remember what we said earlier--if you've identified a severe hazard, and/or one with a great chance of causing illness or injury, address it immediately.

When you're considering a list of controls, think of the following (and in this order):

  1. Elimination and/or substitution: If you can remove the hazard entirely, or put some form of substitute in place, do that. That's the best way to deal with a hazard--make it go away. An example would be removing a sharp edge on the corner of a machine so nobody could get cut.
  2. Engineering controls: Engineering controls involve re-designing the work area so that the hazard is eliminated or reduced. An example would be enclosing a noisy motor inside a sound-proof box.
  3. Administrative controls: Administrative controls involve modifying the way people work around a hazard to reduce the risk. An example might be limiting the number of hours someone works lifting heavy boxes from the end of a conveyor belt.
  4. Personal protective equipment (PPE): PPE can be used to protect people who are working in the presence of hazards. An example would be giving a respirator to someone working near airborne crystalline silica. PPE should only be used as a last resort, once the other forms of controls listed above have been tried. PPE may be used in combination with the other forms of controls, too.

Need more help on controls? Here's a nice OSHA page on hazard controls; here's an OSHA website on the Hierarchy of Controls; and here's our article on the Hierarchy of Controls.

More about the Job Hazard Analysis

Here are a few more stray questions (and answers) about the JHA for you.

When Should You Control Your Hazards?

Once you've completed the JHA, start controlling them hazards, cowboy.

Do You Have to Review and Revise Your JHAs?

Yes. Our form below includes lines you can use to schedule these reviews and make sure they've happened.

When Should You Review and Revise Your JHAs

Review your JHAs and, if necessary, revise them:

  • On a routine, periodic basis--maybe every year
  • When an injury or illness occurs at a a specific job
  • When there's a close call or near-miss
  • When the job changes
  • When an employee suggests considering it

Want to Know More?

Reach out and a Vector Solutions representative will respond back to help answer any questions you might have.