Let’s be honest. Performing a job hazard analysis (JHA) is not the average person’s idea of a good time, but it is a necessary technique to minimize risks and ensure safety in the workplace.
A construction job hazard analysis is especially important because of the number of threats inherent to the job site where building materials and heavy machinery are present.
What is a JHA?
Simply put, the JHA is a process where each step of a particular job is assessed to identify potential hazards or risks to an employee. The goal of the JHA is to observe the employee who performs his or her job in a typical setting and to identify weaknesses in the process that jeopardize health or safety. Following the JHA, proper steps are outlined to improve the existing working conditions.
How does a JHA work?
Performing a job hazard analysis is not necessarily a complicated task. A job hazard analysis checklist has 5 basic steps:
- Select the job (or jobs) that will be evaluated.
- List the steps or tasks involved in the particular job being evaluated.
- Observe the job sequence as it is typically performed.
- Acknowledge any hazards or potential hazards.
- Ensure the proper steps will be taken to correct the problem and minimize the risk.
How is a threat or risk determined?
Sometimes the JHA can seem subjective since the details of a particular job can change. This is why it is critical that employees do everything possible to perform the job as normally as possible. Employees need to understand that the JHA is not about them—they are not being evaluated; the job is being evaluated. In this regard, here are 5 examples of the types of questions that may be asked to help assess the presence of hazards:
- Does the equipment pose any unnecessary threats?
- What is the likelihood of falling objects?
- What are the chances that an employee could slip and fall?
- Is extreme noise or temperature a problem?
- Is harmful radiation involved?
What happens when a hazard is identified?
Though the presence of a hazard is not a reason to celebrate, it should be noted that identifying hazards is a good thing because, ultimately, the number of threats to health and safety is going to be addressed and minimized.
In the event that a threat is identified, employers and employees should discuss a plan of action to eliminate the risk. Both parties—the employee and the employer—should be involved in the conversation since both parties are crucial in implementing and ensuring the improved plan.
Sometimes, simple modifications can be made to improve the situation. In some cases, investing in new equipment or overhauling existing processes becomes paramount. The bottom line? No employee should fear for his health or safety and no employer should be content to allow threats on the job.
Performing a JHA may not be the average person’s idea of a good time, but if done correctly, it can make a world of difference.