Job safety analysis

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Workplace Hazard Categories[edit]

Workplace Hazards are in three categories:

  1. Types,
  2. Groups, and
  3. Families.

Workplace Hazard Types[edit]

There are two hazard types. They are:

  1. Hazards to Safety - Anything assessed as 'possible', or greater, to cause an immediate injury
  2. Hazards to Health - Anything assessed as 'possible', or greater, to cause harm by exposure over time.

Workplace Hazard Groups[edit]

There are three hazard groups. They are:

  1. Physical Object Hazard – Touch or inhale it.
  2. Hazardous Work Type – Requires a permit, qualification etc.
  3. Duty of Care Breaches - Legislative &/or company contraventions.

Hazard Families[edit]

There are many hazard families. The following list is not exhaustive. Many hazards will fit into more than one family.

Physical, Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, Hydraulic, Pneumatic, Biological, Magnetic, Thermal, Gravitational, Environmental, Psychological, Invisible, Visible, and Developing.

Workplace Hazard Criterion[edit]

The criterion is a set of standards to assist in deciding to include, or exclude, certain identified hazards related to our task.

The workplace hazard criterion used to identify genuine workplace hazards is:

1. It is ‘clearly identifiable’ - ‘Clearly identifiable’ means that we are specific about the hazard to the point where the hazard type, group and family are instantly linked to it.
2. ‘A scenario is not required for its articulation’ - It can be clearly described in five, or less, words. If you cannot, it probably is not a hazard.
3. It has an inherent likelihood of ‘possible’ or greater - If the hazard you are applying the criteria to does not have an inherent likelihood of ‘Possible’, or greater, then drop it and move on.
4. It is without ‘judgmental adjectives’ - Judgmental adjectives are negative and sometimes overlap with ‘descriptions of absence’. Adjectives such as poor, deficient, defective, scant, weak, unsound, faulty are not to be used in the hazard column.
5. It contains no ‘descriptions of absence’ - Descriptions of absence are usually negative and sometimes overlap with Judgmental adjectives. They include: Without, lack of, minimal, unsuitable, unavailable, inadequate, missing, non-existent.

Mechanism of Injury (MoI)[edit]

One other very important and defining facet of a hazard is its ‘mechanism of injury’ (MoI).

It is important because in the absence of an MoI it isn't a hazard, and this is about job 'hazard' analysis.

The MoI is the method in which an injury occurs.

All hazards have an MoI.

Common MoIs are ‘slips trips and falls’.

Hazard = Tool bag (in walkway)
MoI = Trip (over tool bag)
Injury = Broken wrist

Other common MoIs include:

  • Struck against / by
  • Contact with / by
  • Caught in / on / by / between
  • Exposure to
  • Fall to same / lower level


Likelihood is expressed as the number of occurrences of an event in a given time.

It may be expressed as chance, frequency or a percentage. Either way, the application of the rule of being reasonable and realistic is paramount.


Consequence is the outcome of an event expressed qualitatively or quantitatively, being a loss, injury, disadvantage or gain. There may be a range of possible outcomes associated with an event.[1]

Consequence consists of two factors. The first is the mechanism of injury covered above. The second factor is the estimation of the severity of the injury or harm that can be reasonably and realistically expected from exposure to the obvious mechanism of injury of the hazard being rated.

The consequence is quantified using a severity of consequence scale.

It is acknowledged that an implemented control may lower the severity of the injury, it may also increase it, either way, it has no effect on the way the injury occurred. Therefore, when rating risk, the consequence remains the same for both the initial rating and the residual rating.

People inherently lean toward a higher than actual consequence when rating risk, so remember to apply the rule of being reasonable and realistic.

The likelihood, MoI and severity relationship.


Risk is the correlation between likelihood and consequence.

Risk Authority[edit]

An org chart for the acceptability of risk when certain levels of risk have been met, e.g.:

  • Risk Level Risk Authority
  • Low risk = Supervisor
  • Medium risk = Superintendent
  • Significant risk = Manager
  • High risk = Unacceptable without mitigation.


[2] ALARP is an acronym for ‘As Low As Reasonably Practicable’.

This means that we reduce risk only to the point where further ‘control/s’ do not become grossly disproportionate to any achievable safety benefit.

The acronym 'ALARA' is also in common usage which stands for 'As Low As Reasonably Achievable'.

Reasonably Practicable[edit]

[3] Reasonably practicable’, in relation to a duty to ensure health and safety, means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including: a. the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring; and

b. the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or the risk; and

c. what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk, and about the ways of eliminating or minimising the risk; and

d. the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk; and

e. after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.

Work Process - PEPE[edit]

The way in which work is performed is called the 'Work Process'.

The work process comprises four elements that are present in every task.

These elements are known by the acronym PEPE:

  • Process,
  • Environment,
  • People,
  • EMT is itself an acronym for 'equipment, materials and tools'.

Absolutely every task undertaken is affected in some way by elements of PEPE.

PEPE is particularly handy in identifying hazards.

As mentioned earlier, the best first tier risk assessment tools are actually simple checklists based on PEPE.

1. Process

Process is all about procedures, standards, legislation, safe work instructions, permits and permit systems, risk assessments and policies.

Key factors about ‘Process’ is that the relevant components are: - In Place. - User Friendly - (So they are followed, not bypassed). - Reviewed Regularly & update.

2. Environment

People may be exposed to issues related to:

  • Access & Egress.
  • Obstructions.
  • Weather.
  • Dust, heat, cold, noise.
  • Darkness.
  • Contaminants.
  • Isolated workers.
  • Other Workers.

3. People

People are any organisations most valuable asset.

To assist people to be safe in their workplace they need to be provided with sufficient information, training, instructions and supervision.

People may be:

  • Untrained.
  • Not yet competent.
  • Uncertified.
  • Inexperienced.
  • Unsupervised.
  • Affected by alcohol or other drugs.
  • Fatigued.
  • Inadequately instructed.
  • Suffering from: Stress / Home Life / Workplace Bullying.
  • Have a Poor Attitude to / refusal to follow procedures.

4. Equipment, Material & Tools (EMT)

  • Select the right EMT for the task. Incorrect EMT selections are hazardous in themselves.
  • Is the EMT hazardous, e.g.: is it sharp, hot, vibrating, heavy, fragile, contain pinch points, a hazardous substance including hydrocarbons, acids, alkalis, glues, solvents, asbestos etc.
  • Do you need to be isolated from energy sources including electricity, hydraulic, pneumatic, radiation and gravitational sources.
  • Is the EMT in date? Does it require certification and/or calibration, tested and tagged?
  • Are obstructions out of walkways and leads and hoses suspended?


Controls are defined as the barrier/s between people &/or assets and the hazard/s.

Controls are known as hard or soft.

A hard control provides a physical barrier between the person and the hazard. Hard controls include machine guards, restraint equipment, fencing/barricading.

A soft control does not provide a physical barrier between the person and the hazard. Soft controls include signage, procedures, permits, verbal instructions etc.

Control Criterion[edit]

The effectiveness of a control is measured by its ability to reduce the likelihood of a hazard causing injury or damage. A control is either effective or not.

To assist us gauge this effectiveness we use several control criterion:

  • Addresses the relevant aspects of PEPE,
  • Reduces likelihood to ALARP,
  • Hard controls selected over soft control (Hierarchy of control used), &
  • Contains a ‘doing word’.

There is no commonly used mathematical way in which multiple controls for a single hazard can be combined to give a score that meets an organisations acceptable risk level. In instances where the residual risk is greater than the organisations acceptable risk level, consultation with the organisations relevant risk authority should occur.

Hierarchy of Control[edit]

Hierarchy of Control is a system used in industry to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards.

It is a widely accepted system promoted by numerous safety organizations. This concept is taught to managers in industry, to be promoted as standard practice in the workplace. Various illustrations are used to depict this system, most commonly a triangle.

The hierarchy of hazard controls are, in order of effectiveness: Elimination, Substitution, Engineering, Administration and Personal Protective Equipment. In some jurisdictions, Isolation is included in the list of controls. The list then is Elimination, Substitution, Isolation, Engineering, Administration and Personal Protective Equipment.

When a JSA is required[edit]

Workplace hazard identification and an assessment of those hazards should be performed before every job.

JSAs are usually developed when directed to by a supervisor, when indicated by the use of a first tier risk assessment and whenever a hazard associated with a task has a likelihood rating of 'possible' or greater.

A JSA is a documented risk assessment developed when company policy directs people to do so.

Generally, high consequence, high likelihood tasks are addressed by way of a JSA.

High consequence, high likelihood tasks include, but are not limited to, those with:

A history of, or potential for, injury, harm or damage such as those involving:

  1. Fire, chemicals or a toxic or oxygen deficient atmosphere.
  2. Tasks carried out in new environments.
  3. Rarely performed tasks.
  4. Tasks that may impact on the integrity or output of a processing system.

How a JSA is created[edit]

The JSA or JHA should be created by the work group performing the task. Sometimes it is expedient to review a JSA that has been prepared when the same task has been performed before but the work group must take special care to review all of the steps thoroughly to ensure that they are controlling all of the hazards for this job this time. The JSA is usually completed on a form. The most common form is a table with three columns (although each company has a variation with many having five or six columns). The headings of the three columns are (1) Job Step (2) Hazard (3) Controls. A Hazard is any factor that can cause damage to personnel, property or the environment (some companies include loss of production or downtime in the definition as well). A Control is any process for controlling a hazard. The work group firstly breaks down the entire job into its component steps. Then, for each step, hazards are identified. Finally, for each hazard identified, controls are recorded in the 3rd column. In the example below, the hazards are analyzed for the task of preparing and painting a handrail:


(1) Scaffolding


Always remember to barricade your area when your mantling and dismantling scaffold to prevent unauthorized entry by others who don't belong in your work area

Proper PPE
Make sure you have proper PPE when handling scaffold material. Hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, steel toe boots and FRC clothing
Swing Gates
Swing gates are attached to every scaffold provided on FPC property

Fall Protection
All fall protection training is updated annually, harness and lanyards are inspected monthly and prior to each use. All tools used for overhead work will be attached to a tool lanyard
Electrical shock
Use proper insulated gloves, check your cables for any frayed wires and inspect all tools prior to each use

Fumes from welding Employ intrinsically safe fume extraction fans. Wear proper respiratory protection when dealing with certain fumes

Burns Wear proper PPE to protect from sparks or slag falling on you when welding overhead. Look to using a welding sleeve and proper FRC clothing

Remove all combustibles from work area. Remove all sources of ignition from work area. Maintain a fire watch for task plus 30 minutes. Position appropriate fire fighting equipment in work area
(3) Housekeeping
Slips, trips and falls

Maintain a clear path work area, work with proper boots with good soles on the bottom and keep work area looking clean

Assessing Risk Levels[edit]

Some organisations add columns for risk levels. The risk rating of the hazard prior to applying the control is known as the 'inherent risk rating'. The risk rating of the hazard with the control in place is known as the 'residual' risk rating.

Risk, within the occupational health and safety sphere, is defined as the 'effect of uncertainties on objectives[4]'. In the context of rating a risk, it is the correlation of 'Likelihood' and 'Consequence'.

Likelihood is a quantitative evaluation of occurrences over set periods of time.

Consequence is a qualitative evaluation of both the 'Mechanism of Injury' and the reasonable and realistic 'Severity of Injury'.

As it is historically correct to reasonably and realistically evaluate that the likelihood of an adverse event whilst operating a hot particle producing tool, (grinder), is 'possible' the act of grinding meets the workplace hazard criteria.

It would also be reasonable and realistic to evaluate that the mechanism of injury of an eye being struck at high speed with hot metal particles, whether it be the eye of the grinder operator, a crew member or any person passing or working adjacent, above or below may result in a permanent disability.

The severity of reasonably and realistically expected injury is (blindness). Therefore, grinding warrants a high severity rating.

Wearing eye protection whilst in the vicinity of grinding operations reduces the likelihood of this adverse event occurring.

If the eye protection was momentarily not used, not fitted correctly or failed and hot high speed particles struck an eye, the expected mechanism of injury (adverse event) has still occurred, hence the consequence rating remains the same for both the inherent and residual consequence rating.

It is accepted that the control/s may indeed lessen, and in some cases increase, the severity of injury, however, the 'rated' consequence remains the same.

One of the known risk rating anomalies is that we can scale likelihood and the severity of injury, but we cannot scale mechanism of injury. This is the reason why the mechanism of injury is bundled with severity, to allow a rating to be given. The MoI is the important factor as it signals the obvious controls.

Identifying responsibilities[edit]

Another column that is often added to the basic three columns in a JSA form or worksheet is the Responsible column. The Responsible column is for the name of the individual who will put the particular control in place. Defining who is responsible for actually putting the controls in place that have been identified on the JSA worksheet ensures that an individual is accountable for doing so.

After the JSA worksheet is completed[edit]

After the JSA worksheet is completed, the work group that is about to perform the task should have a toolbox talk, and discuss the hazards and controls, delegate responsibilities, ensure that all equipment and PPE described in the JSA are available, that contingencies such as fire fighting are understood, communication channels and hand signals are agreed etcetera. Then, if everybody in the work group feels that it is safe to proceed with task, work should commence.

If at any time during the task circumstances change, then work should be stopped (sometimes called a "time-out for safety"), and the hazards and controls described in the JSA should be reassessed and additional controls used or alternative methods devised. Again, work should only recommence when every member of the work group feels it is safe to do so.

When the task is complete it is often of benefit to have a close-out or "tailgate" meeting, to discuss any lessons learned so that they may be incorporated into the JSA the next time the task is undertaken.

Tips and tricks[edit]

It is vitally important that workers understand that it is not the JSA form that will keep them safe on the job, but rather the process it represents. It is of little value to identify hazards and devise controls if the controls are not put in place.

Workers should never be tempted to "sign on" the bottom of a JSA without first reading and understanding it. JSAs are quasi-legal documents, and are often used in incident investigations, contractual disputes, and court cases.

Everybody in the workforce should be involved in creating the JSA. The more minds, the more years of experience applied to analysing the hazards in a job, the more successful the work group will be in controlling them.


  1. ^ AS/NZS4360:2009 Risk Management/year=2009, Australian Standards 
  2. ^ Risk Management - Risk assessment techniques - International Standard IEC/ISO 31010, ISO, 2011, p. 90 
  4. ^ AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management - Principles and guidelines. Standards Australia. pp. Preface (a). ISBN 0 7337 9289 8. 

External links[edit]