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A job safety analysis (JSA) is a procedure that helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation. The goal of a JSA is to identify potential hazards of a specific role and recommend procedures to control or prevent these hazards.

Other terms often used to describe this procedure are job hazard analysis (JHA), hazardous task analysis (HTA) and job hazard breakdown.

The terms "job" and "task" are commonly used interchangeably to mean a specific work assignment. Examples of work assignments include "operating a grinder," "using a pressurized water extinguisher" or "changing a flat tire." Each of these tasks have different safety hazards that can be highlighted and fixed by using the job safety analysis.

Terminology and definitions

Workplace hazard categories

Workplace hazards can be allocated to six categories:[1]

Mechanism of injury

Mechanism of injury (MOI) is the means by which an injury occurs. [2] It is important because in the absence of an MoI there is no hazard. Common mechanisms of injury are "slips, trips and falls", for example:

Other common mechanisms of injury include:


Likelihood is how often an event is reasonably and realistically expected to occur in a given time, and may be expressed as a probability, frequency or percentage.

Consequence diagram

Consequence is the outcome of an event expressed qualitatively or quantitatively, being a loss, injury, disadvantage or gain. There may be a range of possible outcomes associated with an event.[3]

Consequence is the severity of the injury or harm that can be reasonably and realistically expected from exposure to the mechanism of injury of the hazard being rated. An implemented control may affect the severity of the injury, but it has no effect on the way the injury occurred. Therefore, when rating risk, the consequence remains the same for both the initial rating and the residual rating. People inherently tend to overestimate severity of consequence when rating risk,[3] but the rating should be both reasonable and realistic.


Risk is the combination of likelihood and consequence. The risk at hand ties directly into the likelihood and severity of an incident.

Risk authority

The risk authority is the organizational level of the person authorized to accept a specified level of risk. For example, different levels of risk authorities may be assigned as follows:

Risk level Risk authority
Low risk Supervisor
Moderate risk Superintendent
Significant risk Manager
High risk Unacceptable without mitigation
"As low as reasonably practicable" (ALARP)
"As low as reasonably pracicable" (ALARP) carrot diagram

As low as reasonably practicable[4] when applied to job safety analysis means that it is not necessary to reduce risk beyond the point where the cost of further control becomes disproportionate to any achievable safety benefit. The "ALARA" acronym ("As low as reasonably achievable") is also in common usage.[5]

Reasonably practicable

In relation to a duty to ensure health and safety, reasonably practicable means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:[6]

Work process
The way in which work is performed is called the work process. This entails all actions taken to do a specific role in the workplace.

PEPE is used to assist in identifying hazards. It is an acronym for the four elements that are present in every task of the work process:


In this context, process is about procedures, standards, legislation, safe work instructions, permits and permit systems, risk assessments and policies. Key factors for effective process are that the relevant components are in place, easy to follow and regularly reviewed and updated.

Environmental hazards

People may be exposed to issues related to:

Personnel hazards

To assist people to be safe in their workplace they need to be provided with sufficient information, training, instructions and supervision. People may be:

Equipment, materials and tools (EMT)

The right equipment, materials and tools must be selected for the task, and incorrect selections may be hazardous in themselves.

Hazard controls

Controls are the barriers between people and/or assets and the hazards. Controls can also be thought of as "guardrails" that prevent negative impacts from occurring.

Control effectiveness criteria

The effectiveness of a control is measured by its ability to reduce the likelihood of a hazard causing injury or damage. A control is either effective or not.

To gauge this effectiveness several control criteria are used, which:

There is no commonly used mathematical way in which multiple controls for a single hazard can be combined to give a score that meets an organizations acceptable risk level. In instances where the residual risk is greater than the organisations acceptable risk level, consultation with the organizations relevant risk authority should occur.

Hierarchy of controls

Hierarchy of controls

Hierarchy of control is a system used in industry to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards.[7] It is a widely accepted system promoted by numerous safety organizations. This concept is taught to managers in industry, to be promoted as a standard practice in the workplace.[7] Various illustrations are used to depict this system, most commonly a triangle.[7]

The hierarchy of hazard controls are, in descending order of effectiveness: Elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment.

Scope of application

A job safety analysis is a documented risk assessment developed when company policy directs employees to do so. Workplace hazard identification and an assessment of those hazards may be required before every job.

Analyses are usually developed when directed to do so by a supervisor, when indicated by the use of a first tier risk assessment and when a hazard associated with a task has a likelihood rating of 'possible' or greater.

Generally, high consequence, high likelihood task hazards are addressed by way of a job safety analysis. These may include, but are not limited to, those with a history of, or potential for, injury, harm or damage such as those involving:

It is important that employees understand that it is not the JSA form that will keep them safe on the job, but rather the process it represents. It is of little value to identify hazards and devise controls if the controls are not put in place. Workers should never be tempted to "sign on" the bottom of a JSA without first reading and understanding it.

JSAs are quasi-legal documents, and are often used in incident investigations and court cases.

Structure of a job safety analysis

The analysis is usually created by the work group who will perform the task. The more minds and experience applied to analysing the hazards in a job, the more successful the work group is likely to be in controlling them. Sometimes it is expedient to review a JSA that was prepared when the same task was performed on a previous occasion, but care should be taken to ensure that all of the hazards for the job are controlled for the new occasion. The JSA is usually recorded in a standardized tabular format with three to as many as five or six columns. The more columns used, the more in-depth the job safety analysis will be. The analysis is subjective to what the role being investigated entails. The headings of the three basic columns are: Job step, hazard and controls. A hazard is any factor that can cause damage to personnel, property or the environment (some companies include loss of production or downtime in the definition as well). A control is any process for controlling a hazard. The job is broken down into its component steps. Then, for each step, hazards are identified. Finally, for each hazard identified, controls are listed. In the example below, the hazards are analyzed for the task of erecting scaffolding and welding lifting lugs:

Job Hazard Control
Erecting scaffolding Falling scaffolding components Barricade work area while erecting and dismantling scaffolding
Working at height Verify scaffolder competence
Inspect scaffold components and structure
Tag scaffolding after approval
Wear appropriate protective equipment (harness, hard hats, safety footwear etc.)
Tether tools
Welding Electrical current Wear insulated gloves
Inspect cables, connections and tools before use
Welding fumes Ventilate using intrinsically safe fume extraction fans
Wear respiratory protection when appropriate
Welding arc Wear welding helmet with eye protection, fire resistant overalls, welding gloves and apron
Erect welding screens if appropriate
Hot weld metal, sparks and slag Remove all combustibles from work area
Lay out fireproof drop cloths.
Set up appropriate fire fighting equipment in work area
Maintain a fire watch during task plus 30 minutes.
Housekeeping Obstacles in work area Maintain a clear path work area
Remove unnecessary and vulnerable equipment
Display warning signage
Barricade danger areas

Assessing risk levels

Some organizations add columns for risk levels. The risk rating of the hazard prior to applying the control is known as the 'inherent risk rating'. The risk rating of the hazard with the control in place is known as the 'residual' risk rating.

Risk, within the occupational health and safety sphere, is defined as the 'effect of uncertainties on objectives[8]'. In the context of rating a risk, it is the correlation of 'likelihood' and 'consequence', where likelihood is a quantitative evaluation of frequency of occurrences over time, and consequence is a qualitative evaluation of both the "Mechanism of Injury" and the reasonable and realistic estimate of "severity of injury".


There is historical precedent to reasonably and realistically evaluate that the likelihood of an adverse event occurring while operating a hot particle producing tool, (grinder), is "possible", therefore the activity of grinding meets the workplace hazard criteria.
It would also be reasonable and realistic to assume that the mechanism of injury of an eye being struck at high speed with hot metal particles may result in a permanent disability, whether it be the eye of the grinder operator, a crew member or any person passing or working adjacent to, above or below the grinding operation.
The severity of reasonably and realistically expected injury may be blindness. Therefore, grinding warrants a high severity rating.
Wearing eye protection while in the vicinity of grinding operations reduces the likelihood of this adverse event occurring.
If the eye protection was momentarily not used, not fitted correctly or failed and hot high speed particles struck an eye, the expected mechanism of injury (adverse event) has still occurred, hence the consequence rating remains the same for both the inherent and residual consequence rating.
It is accepted that the control may affect the severity of injury, however, the rated consequence remains the same as the effect is not predictable.

One of the known risk rating anomalies is that likelihood and the severity of injury can be scaled, but mechanism of injury cannot be scaled. This is the reason why the mechanism of injury is bundled with severity, to allow a rating to be given.[2] The MoI is an important factor as it suggests the obvious controls.

Identifying responsibilities

Another column that is often added to a JSA form or worksheet is the Responsible column. The Responsible column is for the name of the individual who will put the particular control in place. Defining who is responsible for actually putting the controls in place that have been identified on the JSA worksheet ensures that an individual is accountable for doing so.

Application of the JSA

After the JSA worksheet is completed, the work group that is about to perform the task would have a toolbox talk, to discuss the hazards and controls, delegate responsibilities, ensure that all equipment and personal protective equipment described in the JSA are available, that contingencies such as fire fighting are understood, communication channels and hand signals are agreed etc. Then, if everybody in the work group agrees that it is safe to proceed with the task, work can commence.

If at any time during the task circumstances change, then work should be stopped (sometimes called a "time-out for safety"), and the hazards and controls described in the JSA should be reassessed and additional controls used or alternative methods devised. Again, work should only continue when every member of the work group agrees it is safe to do so.

When the task is complete it is often of benefit to have a close-out or "tailgate" meeting, to discuss any lessons learned so that they may be incorporated into the JSA the next time the task is undertaken.


  1. ^ OSHA. "Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs". OSHA. Retrieved November 13, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Toney-Butler, Tammy J.; Varacallo, Matthew (2023), "Motor Vehicle Collisions", StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, PMID 28722984, retrieved 2023-11-16
  3. ^ a b AS/NZS4360:2009 Risk Management/year=2009, Australian Standards
  4. ^ Risk Management - Risk assessment techniques - International Standard IEC/ISO 31010, ISO, 2011, p. 90
  5. ^ CDC (2022-05-18). "ALARA - As Low As Reasonably Achievable". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  6. ^ How to determine what is reasonably practicable to meet a health and safety duty - Guidance note - Safe Work Australia - May 2013
  7. ^ a b c "Hierarchy of Controls | NIOSH | CDC". 2023-01-17. Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  8. ^ AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management - Principles and guidelines. Standards Australia. 2009. pp. Preface (a). ISBN 978-0-7337-9289-2.