Chamber Chat - Workplace Safety

Aug 19

By Meg Moss


Workplace safety cannot exist on best practice guidelines and policies alone. A safe working environment is based on how well the people, in both management and on the factory floor, adhere to -- and communicate about -- safety standards.

According to First Benefits Mutual Insurance, who specializes in worker’s compensation, one place to start is by completing a Job Hazard Analysis.  A job hazard analysis (JHA) is a way of breaking down a job or task into its basic steps to find the potential hazards. JHA focuses on the relationship between the manager, the worker; the task or job; the tools; and the environment. There are five basic parts to understanding JHA. And because over twenty percent of Lee County’s workforce works in manufacturing, this article lends itself more towards an industrial setting. However, some safety guidelines are relevant to all types of jobs.

Part 1: Analyzing jobs or tasks. Not every single job or task will be the subject of a JHA. Generally, the most hazardous jobs or the jobs that have caused injuries in the past are scrutinized the most. Managers are in charge of this, but if you think a job or task that hasn’t been selected for a JHA and needs one, employees should suggest it to their supervisors.

Part 2: Observing the job or task. Once a job has been selected for JHA, all the steps it involves should be considered carefully and listed in a JHA form. The manager should pay attention not only to the obvious steps of the job but also to start-up, shutdown, and any necessary maintenance steps.

Part 3: Describing the hazards in each step. For each step listed in the JHA form, hazards associated with it should be considered, and the hazards that correspond to each step in the JHA form should be recorded. The following are some of the common types of hazards: heavy lifting, repetitive motion, or awkward postures or movements, chemical exposure, hot or cold conditions, electrical hazards, burn hazards fire or explosion hazards, dangerous machinery or equipment, slips, trips, and falls, workplace conditions like lighting, noise, and ventilation, and human-related hazards like vulnerability to crime or violence.

Part 4: Developing corrective measures. For each hazard identified, managers should think about what could be done to reduce the risk. Should machine guarding be installed? Would changing the setup of a work area or modifying the process make the job safer? Is personal protective equipment (PPE) needed? Suggested corrective measures for each step should be recorded in the JHA form.

Part 5: Writing safe job procedures. A safe job procedure that takes hazards and corrective measures into account should be written for the task. These safe job procedures are an important resource. They should be clear and easy to understand. These procedures should be written in a step-by-step format, implement simple language, and include any necessary special equipment or PPE.

And let’s not forgot the importance of training all employees on these Job Hazard Analysis forms. Without training, all the JHA’s put into place are simple pieces of paper. CranCo Safety is a veteran-owned company located here in Sanford. Their focus is helping companies improve the safety culture in the workplace. They specialize in training that is hands on and uses real world examples whenever possible. â€‹Owner Dan Cranston sums it up well, “companies can either make time for safety training or make time for filling out accident paperwork.”

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