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Debating the JSA

Ray Wyld, one of the Safety Concepts readers has asked that we get a debate going on the worker’s use of the Job Safety Analysis. So please add your take on the subject.

Ray makes some distinctions in the below article:

Current JSA No HelpThe JSA  was originally put in place to allow workers the opportunity to have a look at the task they were to do after all the procedural  and Job Planning systems had been completed; called Job Planning. This was to allow the decision to be made by Supervisors that the Team can do the task safely, controlling all known hazards.

What has happened in most places is that we disregard the procedures and Job Planning and go straight to the JSA to be the catch-all for approval and the system to do the job. 

What is being missed again is the NEW REAL TIME HAZARDS and the workers are disengaged as they are bored through a process that does not add value to the safety or efficiency on how to do the Job. In fact most use a Generic JSA which is a cross between a Procedure, Hazard Control Tool, Job step Plan, Hazard Risk Study and a permit. WOW! It is no wonder the workers are disengaged as they know how to do the job and not encouraged to spend some time trying to find the hidden hazards.

The real pity of how the JSA has evolved is that in the event of someone being hurt, Management always ask why the JSA didn’t indicate the hazard. The main reason is that the workers were not encouraged to look and hence didn’t see the hazard.

The misuse of the JSA process is the reason that good people are still hurting themselves doing jobs where new real time hazards are not detected.

What is needed is to ensure people are trained and competent in doing the job and then do a JSA to find real time hazards and then a personal Safety observation program, Step Back 5 x 5. JSA was to be a Workers Tool – simple and involve all people doing the task.

It is not simple now and is a Management Tool not a Workers Tool.

This needs to change to get workers engaged in the job.

Your comments?

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (9)

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  1. Gunther Gahleitner says:

    If this is the Ray Wyld that I know then the information and opinion he gives comes from a long history of involvement in a high risk industry.

    I have been managing safety on projects for a long time and have always insisted on a clear deliniation between the types of documents or tools being used. I do not accept a generic JSA. The re converted to safe work instructions which then require a hand written JSA to confirm that no additional hazards have been identified due to a change in environment, plant, equipment or materials.

    There is always some reluctance at the start because many of the workforce see the JSA process as a tick the box exercise and have no actual involvement and therefore do not “own the attitude”.

    At the end of the day, if there is an incident, we are able to determine a preventative measure based on the decision making process of the work group that compiled the initial JSA.

    It works!!!

  2. dessy says:

    i agree that JSA is not just belongs to workers. management need take JSA is a serious routine activities. JSA is not just complimentary for safety administrative activity. Workers need to educate how to get sensitive to all related hazards, not just common hazards stated in the JSA forms. Management need sometimes to analyze the adequacy of JSA record. It is important to monitor the adequacy.

  3. James Palmer says:

    I recently went on a job interview and part of that consisted of an induction.
    The manager made regular references to osh as a priority.
    Out of curiosity, I asked him some basic questions on what I had to do to comply with osh regulations.(as I am currently studying it) and he could not give me any real answers. For example, one place had chemicals in a cabinet with relevant msd attached to the front of the cabinet.The next site had the same chemicals laying in a bucket with no labels to identify what chemicals may be inside? I think employers are still missing the point and hence the mix up with JSA. Maybe a process that is simplified for employers to enhance their understanding and maybee some real fines for getting it wrong

  4. Murray says:

    JSA’s, do we do them to stay safe or to satisfy compliance auditors? Ask your work colleagues and many will attest to the latter I’m afraid.

    All too often the JSA process is run with worker safety a facade to the “base covering” benefit of having a box ticked JSA to wave in the face of the Coroner at the inquest into your next safety incident.

    So, where lies the solution? It’s about attitude & culture. Unless everyone and I mean absolutely everyone is on board, the facade will continue to play out. JSA’s need to be driven from the front with everyone bearing witness to the Grand Pooh Bah’s of your business partaking in exactly what the workers are expected to do. If the solution to a problem lies in taking Cod Liver Oil then everyone consumes no matter who you are or what you do within the organisation.

    JSA’s should not be generic, that’s tantamount to “cut n paste”, they should be flexible, simple and highly inter-changeable.

    All very Utopic one might say but I assure you that if the basic fundamentals are in place all of the aforementioned is achievable.

  5. Les Henley says:

    I believe that most senior and middle managers do not even understand the concept of ‘risk management’ at the task level.
    In my experience, most managerial and supervisory staff have a fairly clear understanding of workplace inspection and hazard reporting processes – aimed at keeping the general workplace safe.
    Many understand the concept of a ‘safe work procedure’ which is usually developed for a specific task in a specific location where the location risks are fairly static and easily controlled eg on manufacturing production lines.
    But when it comes to tasks that may be same or similar performed in variable locations where hazards and risks are harder to control many come unstuck.
    This is the primary issue for construction industry and for related businesses. I’m currenlty working for a Facilities Management firm that contracts our services to a wide variety of clients including museums, universities and schools, court buildings and the like. Our employees include various trades doing essentially similar tasks in diverse locations.
    We have a complex process for ‘task management’ that includes both planned/routine maintenance and reactive repair work and reactive tasks may be raised by any person within the particular facility. It is simply not practicable to have a supervisor attend every job to do a JSA so we needed to establish a standard ‘approach’ as follows:
    1: BEFORE attending the task location –
    1.1: check the OHS registers (confined spaces, asbestos, heights, etc – where relevant raise ‘high risk work permits’.
    1.2: consider the nature of work to be performed and what plant & substances may be used – refer to safe operating instructions for plant, and MSDSs for substances; Raise a “Hot Work Permit” if welding/cutting/grinding is involved.
    1.3: establish numbers of personnel to be allocated and relevant quals, etc – refer training register and allocate personnel accordingly.
    2: ON Arriving at task location –
    2.1: do a Take 5 and review location based risks such as traffic, environment, access/egress, plant isolation, etc;
    2.2: develop a ‘job step plan’ (or use generic SWMS for routine tasks) and record all identified hazards along with control strategies to be used. (This step is what we call Job Safety Analysis or JSA)
    2.3: Ensure all personnel allocated to the task are aware of the job step plan and the controls.
    2.4: Implement controls.
    3: DO the job – remain alert to potential changes during the duration of the job.
    It’s taken me quite some effort to educate supervisors and tradesmen to this process but we are starting to see the benefits along with a fairly rapid reduction in incident numbers and severity. This improvement fosters recognition and ownership of the process to prevent injuries.

  6. John Todd says:

    JSA are all fine as long as the project builder puts them into place.
    We find in WA that depending on which builder it is, how relevent and controlled these are used.
    Mirvac for example are very strict on not only how your JSA are presented but also inforcing them.
    Some of the other builders take a far lesser attitude over safety to get the job done.
    examples are poor lighting in basement or underground carpark area’s, power leads not tagged, little or no signage of overhead craine works and recently on one site scaffolding being altered by the glasiers to fit there wndows resulting part of the scaffolding collapsing.
    What i think is needed is a standard set by each state and then enforced by the resultant body, which on the ground seems to be severely lacking.

  7. Michelle Beasley says:

    In our industry the concept of JSA’s was not easily accepted, 2 years on employees are now see the value of the information. It is important that JSA’s are taken seriously and used to give clear instructions and identify hazards involved with the task or equipment. Education on JSA’s has been enormous and will continue, the concept does not work if the managers and team leaders do not understand the role of JSA’s. They are a valuabel tool for training and employee inductions and the development of a JSA is encouraged with the assistance of a Risk Assessment and employee involvement being one employee that is an expert in the area and one or 2 that have not undertaken the task or used the equipment, this works well and identifies the need of a JSA

  8. Julie Mylchreest says:

    I spend several years involved in an industry where the concept of a JSA, or SWI was the stuff of myth and considered an unnecessary process and that just took up time. Needless to say, the accident and injury rate reflected this – But we have always done it this way – was the catch cry. It took a long time and alot of effort on the the part of the HSSE team to have the JSA accepted as part of the process of doing a job safetly. The development of SWI’s and the use of the JSA tool to review that process is coming along. The JSA is just another tool in the Safety Tool Box – it doesn’t stand alone and is not stagnant or generic. The JSA is a living document and should be done in concert with everyone involved in a task. It will remain an active part of my safety tool box.

  9. Ray Wyld says:

    Safety Concepts Readers.
    Thanks to all the people who took the time to comment on my article on JSA’s. There is no doubt a lot of interest in the JSA and also some variations and opinions where it fits in the Safety Tool kit.
    I am trying to fit the JSA in the Job Safety Planning process where it can assist the workers who are doing the task to find any NEW REAL TIME HAZARDS that are not in the Job Procedure. It is Legislation or in fact Company rules also that employers are not permited to give work to anyone who is not Competent to do the job. That means to me that they are trained and also have the demonstrated ability to control all the known Hazards and Risks and do the Job.
    The JSA then is to allow COMPETENT people who can do the task Safely and are also trained to look for new hazards that can be created for many reasons. Examples are multiple operations, weather impacts or job scope changes.
    If nothing is changed why would you want competent people to rewrite the same known hazards and controls.? This is the process that the workers have reacted against as it is not logical to have fully trained competent workers go through a generic process and then sign the document.What does the signature mean ? The JSA was to be SIMPLE and an add on to Job Planning/permits and procedures. .That begs the question, have we complicated a simple tool again, and not listened to what our workmates are telling us.
    Please ensure that whatever you do please have the work group survey the job site for NEW HAZARDS and contol them before starting the task. Keep the debate going.

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