Q. Where do I begin?
A. 1. 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.
2. Review your accident history.
Review the following with your employees: your work site’s history of accidents and occupational illnesses that needed treatment; losses that required repair or replacement; and any “near-misses” — 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 may deserve more scrutiny.
3. Conduct a preliminary job review.
Discuss with your employees the hazards that they know exist in their current work and surroundings. Brainstorm ideas on how 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 the potential types of hazard controls.
4. 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.
5. Outline the steps or tasks.
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 the worker takes it. 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 other workers who have performed the same job. Later, review the job steps with the employee to make sure you have not omitted anything. 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.
In conducting a job hazard analysis, it is sometimes 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.
After reviewing the list of hazards with your employees, consider what control methods would eliminate or reduce the hazards. The most effective controls are engineering controls that physically change a machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the hazard. The less likely a hazard control can be circumvented, the better.
If this is not feasible, administrative controls may be appropriate.
Discuss your recommendations with all employees who perform a specific job. If you plan to introduce new job procedures, be sure workers understand what they are required to do.