Job Hazard Analysis

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A Job Hazard Analysis, or JHA, is a tool to assist you and your employees in identifying hazards and ways to reduce risks associated with a specific task or work process. The heart of the JHA,and the most critical step to its success, is for both the employee performing the task and the supervisor together to conduct an evaluation of tasks or processes. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA Pamphlet 3071discusses in detail the process of crafting a JHA and how it should be used to create a safe work environment.

What is a Hazard?

Dictionary-defined, a hazard is “an unavoidable danger or risk,even though often foreseeable.” Quite simply, a hazard is the potential for harm to an employee, and most safety professionals define a hazard as an event associated with an activity or process that, if left uncontrolled, would likely result in an injury or illness.OSHA lists the most common hazards in Appendix 2 of OSHA Pamphlet 3071.

What is a Job Hazard Analysis?

A JHA is a process which evaluates job tasks so that hazards associated with tasks are identified before an employee is exposed to the hazard. Use a JHA for deconstructing a complex job into tasks and analyzing the risks of each task. It is extremely effective when both the supervisor and the worker are involved in the exercise because the focus should be on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. Once those hazards are identified, you begin the process of either eliminating the risk or reducing the risk to an acceptable level (see OSHA Pamphlet 3071,App. 3 for a JHA template).

Why is a Job Hazard Analysis Important?

While a JHA is a small piece of the larger safety and health management system, it is a useful tool to prevent death and injury to your workforce. Also, the use of JHAs will help your supervisors and workers to identify those hazards associated with a task BEFORE they are exposed to the hazard.

What is the Value of a Job Hazard Analysis?

The JHA is a valuable tool for many reasons. Once hazards are identified, you can take steps to establish engineering controls,safe work procedures, and proper training to ensure the hazard can be either removed or mitigated to an acceptable level. OSHA Pamphlet 3071 Appendix 1 details the control hierarchy of engineering measures, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment. The use of a JHA will reduce the amount of workplace injuries, illnesses, and possible deaths in the workplace. Using JHAs involves both the employee and the employee’s supervisor to create a JHA that benefits everyone in the process. Employees appreciate that their supervisor and upper management are concerned with the employee’s well being in the workplace, and that the employee will have “buy in” of the process that leads to a successful outcome for all involved.=What Jobs are Appropriate for a Job Hazard Analysis?=Supervisors and employees should focus on the following jobs when crafting the JHA:

  • Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates
  • Jobs with the potential to inflict severe or disabling injuriesor illnesses* Jobs where one simple human error could result in a severe injury or death* Jobs that are new to your operation or have recently hada change in the process* Jobs complex enough to require written instructions

To perform a JHA, you would ask the following as you analyze each task:

Sample JHA

Working on scaffolding to clean a sculpture in a gallery or outdoors

What can go wrong?

• Chemical spill on you, floor, or soil
• Damage to collection item by spilling chemicals on item
• Scaffolding not erected properly

What are the consequences?

• Flammables on clothes
• Skin irritation or splash in eyes
• Damage to collection item
• Faulty scaffolding/no fall protection training
*injury or falling to death|

How could it happen?

• Not replacing cap on container
• Container not stabilized/secured on platform
• Tight working space, cramped conditions
• Lack of knowledge/training on properly erecting and inspecting scaffolding
• Improper use of fall protection system preventing a fall

What are other controlling factors?

• Proper chemical handling procedures
• Splash goggles, rubber apron, proper long sleeved gloves
• Proper training and protocols for working in high places
• Competency through training and knowledge of properly erecting and inspecting scaffolding
• Working at height protocols and training

How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

• Chemical spill on workers + item, very likely
• Fall from height, likely

Now, can you complete this exercise for specific conservation tasks such as:
• A paper treatment that will include the step of adhesive residue removal using a solvent bath
• A book treatment that will include a step involving the use of a stack cutter, plough, or guillotine

What a JHA is NOT

JHAs are not the panacea for preventing injuries in the workplace, but they are an effective process for raising awareness among workers and supervisors as to hazards and needed controls. They are also a great training tool and safety reminder for tasks that are done infrequently or are complicated, or have the ability to cause severe injury or damage.You might use a hazardous guillotine trimmer a couple of times a week (needing a JHA) or go up on scaffolding to inspect the top of an exhibit enclosure only once a year (crafting and reviewing a JHA is definitely needed before you start this work).However: Refrain from using the JHA for simple regular tasks such as using a paper cutter or climbing a ladder to inspect a painting. Following the manufacturer’s operating instructions,and/or posting a very simple standard/safe operating procedure, is usually sufficient. [See Ladder Safety SOP sidebar] Overuse of the JHA process dilutes the value of the JHA.

When Should you Consult a Safety, Fire Protection, or Industrial Hygiene Professional?

Regardless of outside help, it is important that you and yoursupervisors continue to stay involved in the hazard identificationand control process, as you are on the front lines every day andwill be the first to spot an unsafe condition or a control that is notworking as it should.However, at some point, your management will need the helpof a safety professional to conduct exposure monitoring or evaluateyour JHAs and overall risk management efforts to ensure that lifesafety, environmental regulations and best practices have been met.Some sources may be free of cost, such as your local fire department,county environmental agencies (e.g., for hazardous wastedisposal questions), or your insurance company. Consultants may be found on industrial hygiene professional web sites ( occupational safety organization websites ( of the best resources, though, may be the OSHA consultationservices providing FREE onsite assistance in developing andimplementing effective workplace safety and health managementplans. Industrial hygiene chemical exposure, noise, or radiationmonitoring may also be included. This is not a compliance inspection!No penalties are imposed nor citations issued, as long as youcorrect the identified hazards within a mutually agreed-upontimeframe to meet regulations and ensure a safe workplace (fairenough!). Small employers (fewer than 250 employees) may qualifyfor this assistance. OSHA Consultation Projects, by state, are listedin the back of Pamphlet 3071, and more information can be foundat:


A Job Hazard Analysis program in the work place will reduce injuries,illnesses, and workplace costs by reducing workers’ compensation payments. Additionally, by having an active JHA program, you demonstrate that management is concerned about the health and safety of their employees, and provide employee empowerment during the process of crafting the final JHA product. Overuse of the JHA process for simple regular tasks which do not present a significant hazard should be avoided because they dilute the value of the JHA to both management and the employee. The JHA, if used properly to analyze the steps in a significant task, is an effective tool for minimizing preventable injury or damage to equipment because both the user and the supervisor are involved in crafting the JHA.


Get complete information on a Job Hazard Analysis from the OSHA 3071 Booklet

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