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Course 706 - Conducting a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Prepare to Conduct the JHA

Get ready for the JHA.


The first step in preparing to conduct a JHA is to review all of the jobs in the workplace and make a list of those jobs that might require a JHA.

Involve Your Employees

Get together with your employees and talk about the actual and potential hazards and unsafe behaviors they believe might exist in their current work and surroundings. Discuss the possible accidents that might result from the hazards and behaviors. Next, come up with ideas to eliminate or control those hazards and behaviors. By the way, if you can eliminate or reduce hazards, don't wait until the JHA is conducted. Eliminate or reduce the hazard as soon as possible.

Employees are prone to use their "own" procedures when not being supervised.

It is very important to involve your employees in the JHA process because they have a unique understanding of the job, and this knowledge is invaluable for finding hazards. Involving employees will help minimize oversights, ensure a quality analysis, and get workers to "buy in" to the solutions because they've helped in some way to develop the procedures. If they are not involved in developing the JHA, they will not be as likely to "own" the safe job procedures. As a result, they may not want to use safe procedures and practices that they believe have been "imposed" on them.

The JHA Format

In this course we use a very simple process and format for developing a JHA. The table below shows the basic layout of the form we'll be using. We'll fill in the columns later as we cover each topic. You will see a great variety of JHA forms used by various companies. As you can see below, the JHA format includes the job description and three columns:

  1. Basic Job Step
  2. Hazards - Possible Injuries
  3. Preventive Measures

Sample JHA Worksheet

JOB: _____________________________


Hazardous Conditions and Unsafe Behaviors

Inherently hazardous!

During the job review process, focus on identifying hazardous conditions and unsafe behaviors. Remember, it takes a hazard and exposure to the hazard before an accident can occur. So, it makes sense to look for them during the review. Sources to help identify hazardous conditions and unsafe behaviors include:

  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
  • Experienced workers
  • Accident and incident reports
  • First aid statistical records
  • Behavior Based Safety (BBS) reports
  • Safety committee meeting minutes
  • Safety inspection reports
  • Previous JHAs
  • Existing work procedures
  • Equipment manuals
  • Preventive/corrective maintenance records


If hazards that pose an immediate danger to an employee's life or health exist, take immediate action to protect the worker. Any problems that can be corrected easily should be corrected as soon as possible.


Watch Napo in Risky Business.

Some jobs may require potentially high-risk behaviors that should be identified in a JHA. High risk behaviors that might increase the probability and severity of an injury or illness include:

  • Working at any elevation
  • Lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and other manual handling operations
  • Others working above or below the work area
  • Use of bridge cranes, man lifts, or other heavy equipment
  • Working on or near energized equipment/components
  • Working alone or in isolated workplaces
  • Operating vehicles (i.e. trucks, forklifts, etc.)
  • Working within a confined space or under temperature extremes

Review Incident/Accident History

Review and conduct a risk analysis.

Review your worksite's history of accidents and illnesses that needed treatment and incidents that required repair or replacement of equipment. It's also important to look at near miss events in which an injury did not occur, but could have. These events are indicators that existing hazard controls (if any) may not be adequate and deserve more scrutiny.

Conduct a Risk Analysis

Once you have identified tasks you believe might require a JHA, it's important to prioritize each task. To do this, analyze each task to determine their degree of risk. To determine the degree of risk objectively, it's important to know what risk is, so let's discuss the concept next.

Risk = Probability x Severity x Exposure

Steps in a Risk Analysis
Click to enlarge.

The overall risk inherent in a job is a function of three variables: probability, severity and duration. The greater the probability, severity and exposure - the higher the risk while doing a job. More on this later.


Probability describes the likelihood that a worker will be injured or become ill if exposed to a hazard. Common terms used to describe probability are:

  • unlikely - Injury from exposure has low probability. Less than 50% chance.
  • likely - Injury from exposure has moderate probability. 50/50 Chance.
  • very likely - Injury from exposure has high probability. Greater than 50% chance.


Severity is just a matter of luck.

Severity is an estimate of how serious the injury or illness will be as a result of an accident. The severity of an injury or illness for any given exposure is largely fortuitous: it's a matter of chance or luck. For instance someone could fall from a plan and live to tell about it. It's not the fall, it's the nature of the sudden impact and orientation of the body that determines the severity of the injury. The common terms used to describe severity are:

  • Minor - other than serious physical harm that does not prevent the employee from continuing to work in the same job.
  • Serious - serious physical harm that prevents the employee continuing to work in the same job.
  • Death - fatality


PPE would help protect this worker.

Exposure is the condition of being exposed to hazard such that the employee is somehow affected by that hazard.

  • Physical exposure can be thought of as "arms length" exposure to physical hazards. Exposure can be much farther than arms length if some kind of biological hazard exists. If the employee can get injured or ill as a result of proximity to a danger zone, physical exposure exists.
  • Environmental exposure occurs when the employee can suffer some kind of injury or illness as a result of a hazardous environment. Distance does not matter. For instance, an employee may suffer hearing loss as a result of working near loud continuous noise sources.

Factors that Increase Risk

Is there a high degree of risk here?

There are many factors that may increase the probability and severity of an accident. You may need to be able to discuss the factors that you considered if someone wants you to justify the particular level of risk at which you arrived. Some of these factors include:

  • The number of employees exposed to hazards
  • The experience level of employees exposed to hazards
  • The number of hazards in the procedure
  • The number of opportunities for unsafe behaviors
  • The frequency of exposure to hazards
  • The employee's belief about the hazards
  • The duration of exposure to specific hazards
  • The proximity of employees to the point of danger
  • The complexity of the procedure
  • Potential severity of the injury or illness when exposed
  • Unreasonable workload (physically/mentally incapable of meeting expectations)
  • Working under distress (hurry, fatigue, illness, personal problems)
gsg image matrix
Risk Assessment Matrix
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The Risk Assessment Matrix

Another simple technique to help determine the overall risk of the jobs for which you'll be conducting a JHA, is called the Risk Assessment Matrix. It's a simple process to determine the risk level of each job:

  1. List all of the jobs that you are analyzing.
  2. Estimate the probability and severity of each job.
  3. Next, place the task in the appropriate section of the risk matrix.

Once you've entered all tasks, you can easily prioritize each job to determine which jobs to analyze first.

Click to Enlarge

Crunch the Numbers

To more precisely determine risk, you may want to use numerical values like those described in the tables below. Quantifying risk helps justify how you've prioritized jobs. Using the two tables on the right, you can develop "risk scores" to indicate the degree of risk in each job.

For example, a job in which exposure to a danger zone is likely to result in an injury or illness would receive a score of "6" in the table above.

In this case, a job in which exposure might result in a lost time injury to one worker would receive a score of "50".

Click to Enlarge

Multiplying the Probability Score (6) by the Severity Score (50) in the example to the right would result in a Risk Score of 300. You might consider any job with a risk score of 200 or higher to be a high risk and, therefore, the Risk Score in this example indicates conducting a JHA on this job should be a top priority.

Prioritize Jobs - Worst First

Worst first!

Now that you have some idea how much risk is involved in each job, you can prioritize them. As mentioned earlier, a common strategy is to prioritize the most hazardous job first. If a JHA is required for many tasks in your workplace, priority should go to the following types of jobs, in order of priority:

  1. Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates;
  2. Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there is no history of previous accidents;
  3. Jobs in which one simple human error could lead to a severe accident or injury;
  4. Jobs that are new to your operation or have undergone changes in processes and procedures; and
  5. Jobs complex enough to require written instructions.

OSHAcademy Student Opinion: According to William I., it's important to understand that all the (potentially) "severe events" should be addressed first, then down to critical, etc. He has seen many cases where customers and safety professionals have focused on frequency issues because there is data to review and success to demonstrate. Meanwhile they ignore large loss potential events until they occur. In his opinion, as you address the large loss potential events, there is corollary benefit to the "less severe but more frequent" incidents.


Job Hazard Analysis - 5 Simple Steps To Prevent Work Accidents (Graphic Use of Ketchup)


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Any problems that can be corrected easily should be corrected _____.

2. The first step in the preparing for a JHA is to _____.

3. All of the following are factors that increase risk of injury, except _____.

4. Why is it important to involve employees in the hazard analysis process?

5. Which of the following job categories would be considered the highest priority for a JHA?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.