Job Safety Analysis Made Simple: Step #1 — Identify the Job Steps

Job Hazard Analysis Made Simple: Step #1One of the best reasons for doing a job safety analysis (JSA) prior to a job is because, without it, we tend to limit our perception of the job’s hazards to the most safety-critical activities of that job, and we neglect the hazards associated with the more mundane activities.  That’s a very common mistake. As we saw in our last issue, a JSA forces us to look in detail at every step of the job, which in turn helps us to have a greater understanding of all the hazards — the potentially hidden ones as well as the more obvious ones. [content_protector password=”jsa-1″ identifier=”jsa-1″]

JSA: Step #1

In our last issue we noted that there are three main steps in a JSA.  They are …

1. Identify the steps of the job

2. Identify the hazards of each step

3. Identify how to control those hazards

The first step, identifying the high-level steps (or stages) of a job, lays the groundwork for the other two steps.  What’s important here is to put some thought into it and to really think through things we may otherwise take for granted.

Take for example one job that’s common to many of us — mowing the lawn. In fact, have that in mind.  Think about mowing your lawn for a few seconds.

Now stop! Which step of that job do you have in mind? It’s very likely your mind raced ahead to that part of the job where the rotary blade is cutting the grass.  10 Things You Absolutely MUST KNOW About Reinforcing Your Safety Culture By Building EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

But that’s not the first step (or phase) of that job.  Rather the first step of this job might be something like performing a pre-job inspection or doing pre-job maintenance on the mower.  And even that could have multiple sub-steps — ensuring the blades are free of grass and debris from the last time you used it, checking gas and oil levels, refilling where needed, checking for wear and tear on critical parts, tightening loose screws, sharpening the blades, etc.

The next step of this job might be to start the mower.  This step is its own phase of the job with its own critical concerns — turning the ON switch, choking the air intake, pulling the rope, turning the key, etc.

Finally we come to the actual step of cutting the grass.  Notice that this step is the third step of the job, even though earlier was saw that it’s the step that comes to mind first when we think about mowing the lawn.

Is there a fourth step to this job? Arguably, yes.  Something like post-job maintenance, clean up, raking, bagging and eliminating the clippings, etc.

fctc-online-bannerSo, there are at least four main steps to very common job that many of us do on a semi-regular basis.  Yet when we think about the hazards of mowing the lawn, how how many of us think about Steps 1, 2 or 4?  My guess is, not many.

The point is, taking the time to identify all steps of the job (and not just the obvious ones) is really the only way we’ll begin to think through all the hazards of that job.

We’ll take an in-depth  look at Step #2 of a JSA next time.  That’s all for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Be sure to view the associated video below to learn more about Step #1 of a JSA. Until next time.



About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.