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Job Safety Analysis: OSHA Making You Go “OMG?” TBH, You May Want to Consider a JSA

Toby Graham /
Road Construction Safety Reflector Flasher

OSHA, NIOSH, CDC, EPA, NEP, PPE, PPM—the world of workforce safety and compliance is teeming with acronyms and abbreviations. Many of them represent important rules and standards, indicators of dangerous conditions, or government agencies on the lookout for violations. 

In other words, if you don’t know what a given string of letters means, it probably translates to “you’re in trouble.” 

If regulatory alphabet soup is causing you to shout “OMG” or “WTF,” allow me to introduce you to one more acronym—one that serves to help rather than punish your organization:

JSA.

That stands for job safety analysis. A JSA entails taking a step back, examining a series of tasks, and finding and addressing issues before they become real-world incidents. (FYI and FWIW, the term is often used interchangeably with “JHA”—job hazard analysis.)

OSHA—that’s the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, by the way—describes a JSA as “a very effective means of helping reduce incidents, accidents, and injuries in the workplace. It is an excellent tool to use during new employee orientations and training and can also be used to investigate ‘near misses’ and accidents.”

OSHA doesn’t necessarily require you to conduct JSAs, but it does recommend you do so as a best practice. Fortunately, the process is rather straightforward, as a recent article in Safety+Health magazine explains. Here’s what you need to do to conduct a JSA:

  1. Select a job to analyze. Prime candidates for JSAs are jobs associated with high numbers of incidents, jobs with the potential to cause severe injuries, infrequently performed jobs, and newly developed jobs.
  2. Divide the job into steps. List and describe each activity in sequential order. Aim for 10 steps or fewer—or break things up further by creating two JSAs. 
  3. Analyze the job. Have someone at your organization with the experience and capability to perform the job—e.g. a supervisor—watch a worker do it under normal working conditions. 
  4. Identify potential hazards. S+H suggests asking questions such as the following: 
  • Can a worker’s body or clothing get caught in or between objects?
  • Do tools, machines or equipment present any dangers to the worker?
  • Is the worker, at any time, able to make harmful contact with moving objects?
  • Are slips, trips or falls a concern?
  • Is excessive noise or vibration present?
  • Might the worker experience a strain from lifting, pushing, or pulling?
  • Are workers exposed to dusts, fumes, or vapors?
  1. Establish preventive measures. Figure out what you’ll do to eliminate or reduce injuries during the job.

Read “The benefits of a Job Safety Analysis.”

If your job is to minimize workplace safety incidents, there’s another 3-letter acronym you should know: KPA. Learn how organizations of all kinds use our platform to stay out of trouble.

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