How to Conduct a Job Hazard Analysis (Even When You Dread It…)

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“Conducting a job hazard analysis” sounds much more attractive (and much less daunting!) than “conducting an internal audit”, doesn’t it?  After all, sending your employees home safely to their families at the end of the work day should be the foremost goal of any company.  Additionally, taking good care of your employees will benefit the company in tangible ways such as increased production and freedom from penalties resulting from EHS violations.

Using the “A” word, on the other hand, tends to be rather intimidating, as audits are often associated with stressful investigations that sometimes result in fines or costly modifications. Why would any management team opt to go through such a process voluntarily?

The answer is obvious: you need to identify the problems before someone else does either through an unwanted incident or during a government inspection. Clearly, learning to conduct your own job hazard analysis (or internal audit) is to your entire team’s advantage and can be viewed as a friendly measure which does not have to be dreaded or feared.

How Does a Job Hazard Analysis Involve the Whole Team?

Developing a safety culture is not merely the work of the management (although it certainly should originate on the uppermost level).  Bringing the entire work team into a mentality of cooperation with health and safety compliance is a win/win approach to business.  Employees are protected as they achieve optimal production, and the management is free to focus its time and attention on growth instead of constantly responding to incidents and fines.

The Basic Procedure Involved in Conducting a Job Hazard Analysis

All companies, regardless of the type of industry represented, can follow a basic eight-step procedure when conducting a job hazard analysis. Each step of the procedure is then adapted to the specific industry for a personalized approach to the process.

  1. Identify areas that are to be evaluated. (Nimonik has ready-made templates for helping you think through specific areas of concern.  Our customer service experts would be happy to talk with you about your specific needs.)
  2. Involve key personnel: make it a team approach. A think tank tends to reveal important factors that individuals may overlook.
  3. Plan to use a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone, or Android product, and then take advantage of the software that is already available for on-site auditing.  Using mobile technology gives the auditing team the freedom to move about, take photos, use time-stamps, GPS notations, and synchronization of all data with other team members without time-consuming and annoying paperwork.  A mobile audit using the latest technology cuts time, effort, and costs!
  4. Apply the ready-made checklists and adapt each item to your specific needs. Here is a free checklist on hazard analysis and another one here.
  5. Consider interviewing employees:  is there a general feeling of safety?  Are there any specific concerns?  What is the average employee’s attitude towards the workplace’s safety culture.
  6. Brainstorm for solutions to any problems identified, and assign the task of follow-up to various individuals on the team.
  7. Use the audit software to send reports to the individuals who are assigned to make necessary changes.
  8. Expect the software to provide you with notification when the change has brought the problem area(s) into compliance.

Conducting a job hazard analysis or EHS internal audit can be a great way to ensure that you are prepared for outside inspections (which will come).  Identifying areas that fail to meet compliance requirements during the analysis will reveal weaknesses without the costly penalties and fines that would be imposed if the flaws are discovered during a visit from an OSHA inspector!

As you can see, one key to conducting a successful job hazard analysis is having access to an internal auditing program that can accommodate all of the steps above.  Our team of professionals can help you evaluate your current software or help you select a program that will meet your specific auditing needs. Contact one of our customer service representatives today at 1-888-608-7511 to get help with customizing your next job hazard analysis.  You can use the free trial version of our auditing software to see how you can make EHS compliance an affordable reality for your company.