Request a Demo

Fill in the form below and we will contact you shortly to organised your personalised demonstration of the Noggin platform.

The Noggin Platform

The world's leading integrated resilience workspace for risk and business continuity management, operational resilience, incident & crisis management, and security & safety operations.

Learn More
Resilience Management Buyers Guide - Thumbnail
A Resilience Management Software Buyer's Guide
Access the Guide

Who We Are

The world’s leading platform for integrated safety & security management.

Learn More

How to Conduct a Job Safety Analysis

A key principle in safety management is that most risks should be mitigated as early as possible. However, there’s likely always to be some residual risk, irrespective of how early risk management begins.

One tried and true method of dealing with this residual risk is job safety analysis (JSA). How to conduct a JSA?

Read on to find out.

What is job safety analysis?

Job safety analysis, sometimes referred to as job hazard analysis (JHA) or even the task hazard analysis (THA), has long been a pillar of safety management.

As a result, safety personnel are likely to have heard of or even conducted a job safety analysis at their worksite. But what is JSA, and where did it come from?

We can think of job safety analysis as the formal process of breaking down a job into its constituent parts, listing the hazards associated with those parts, then developing procedures to reduce identified hazards.

A more formal definition of JSA is a qualitative risk assessment method, in some cases limited to hazard identification, which systematically and incrementally considers all risks related to a specific work task.

Uses of JSA

The JSA can have multiple uses. Organizations might use JSA for job clarification and hazard awareness. But they can also use JSA as a guide in new employee training or even for retraining of senior employees.

Other uses of JSA include:

  • A refresher on tasks that run infrequently
  • For informing employees of specific task hazards and protective measures
  • Part of incident investigation.

Where does JSA come from?

Where does the practice come from? Well, managers have been breaking down jobs into subtasks and then analyzing those elements for quite some time now.

In particular, we can see the roots of the contemporary practice of JSA in the Taylorist principles of analyzing, simplifying, and optimizing work tasks.

However, the first use of job safety analysis, according to the academic literature, is in the early 1930s. It was then that scholars contend that job safety analysis was being performed in the American steel industry to identify and manage hazards.

From there, JSA became one of the de facto methods of risk management and hazard control in diverse industries, not only construction but also mining, manufacturing, and more.

Benefits of JSA

That these methods have been around for so long should prompt us to ask why is job safety analysis so popular? For one, job safety analysis is typically simple to conduct. What’s more, the analysis is directly related to the job task.

JSA is inherently collaborative, too, bringing together managers and employees in the preparation of the analysis. As a result, JSA promotes a greater sense of ownership over decisions taken; it also gives employees a better understanding of the importance of safety at work.

Further benefits of the JSA process include:

  • Better hazard control
  • More efficient work when the results of the JSA are appropriately applied
  • Reduces the number of recordable injuries
  • Highlights the dangers of risk operations
  • Both managers and employees gain better insight into task-specific hazards
  • Improves communication about safety between workers and managers
  • Can also serves as a planning for the efficiency and quality of the task to be performed

Limitations of JSA

A major drawback of JSA often cited, though, is that it’s overly simplistic, especially for more complex tasks.

In addition, some argue that job safety analysis doesn’t adequately cover the dynamic nature of certain projects.

The end-to-end JSA process also requires large investments in time, which can cause blowback from managers and employees who believe they’re sufficiently versed in the job’s safety risks.

Steps for conducting JSA

Those limitations notwithstanding, the general consensus is that JSA is widely beneficial.

The National Safety Council, among other nonprofits committed to promoting health and safety, consider the JSA an important analyzing tool.

How does job safety analysis work, though? To simplify, JSA works simply by finding hazards and eliminating or minimizing those hazards before the task is performed and before a hazard has a chance to become an injury or property damage.

More comprehensive steps for conducting JSA include:

Step 1. Identifying the need for JSA

The first step in the JSA process is determining if a JSA is necessary for the task at hand. This appraisal involves establishing criteria to assess the need for a JSA, then providing a basis for deciding whether to proceed with one.

So, when should a JSA be conducted? Consider the following situations:

  • Activities with hazards that aren't sufficiently managed by existing procedures or safeguards
  • Activities deviating from standard procedures
  • New tasks unfamiliar to workers
  • Teams with limited familiarity working together
  • Use of unfamiliar equipment
  • Activities affected by changing conditions (e.g., weather, schedule changes, alterations to task sequences, new interactions with concurrent operations, etc.)

Step 2. Preparation and planning.

Following the initial assessment, a designated individual is tasked to lead the JSA process. The appointed JSA manager forms a team to gather data and relevant information for analysis during preparation.

Who's on the team? Alongside the JSA manager, expect to find a safety representative, work-team leader, and executing personnel.

Step 3. Performing the JSA

This actual JSA process includes the following:

  • Breaking down the job into functions, tasks, and steps
  • Identifying potential hazards for each sub-task
  • Assessing the consequences of identified hazards
  • Determining the frequency of occurrence for hazards
  • Evaluating the risk for each sub-task based on frequency and consequence, using a risk matrix
  • Identifying risk reduction measures for sub-tasks with unacceptable risk levels

As a note, a JSA form documents the analysis, providing the basis for deciding if the job's risk level is acceptable for proceeding.

Step 4. Implementation of measures and execution of the work

Before beginning work, teams confirm job prerequisites and implementation of suggested measures. If unexpected factors or significant changes arise, the JSA must be updated and reassessed.

Step 5. Summary of JSA experience

The JSA manager evaluates the work, aiming to enhance the quality of future JSAs and facilitate knowledge transfer. This evaluation is crucial for continual improvement.

Digital technology to conduct the JSA

Although the JSA has traditionally been conducted manually, safety management software can digitize the process.

Specifically, functionality within software solutions, like Noggin, can effectively manage risk using multiple approaches, not just Job Safety Analysis but also tactical Take 5’s, Method Statements to align teams, Permit to Work and Lock Out Tag Out for higher risk operations, or use the operational risk register to manage risks at a strategic level.

But don’t just take our word for it. See Noggin in action for yourself by requesting a demonstration.

New call-to-action