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Hazards assessments provide the tools needed to prevent workplace injuries or illnesses by identifying existing and potential hazards.

One hundred and seventy-three Australian workers died in 2020, which is a slight decrease compared to 2018. The number of fatalities has gradually decreased thanks to increased safety regulations and processes, including job safety analysis (JSA).

Occupational safety and health should be concerns for any employer. If you want to maintain a safer work environment, learn how to complete an effective JSA.

What Is a Job Safety Analysis (JSA)?

A job safety analysis (JSA) helps employers review work processes to uncover hazards and develop safer processes. A JSA is a written set of procedures for reviewing work steps. It is essentially a risk assessment used for identifying hazards and establishing proper control measures to eliminate the hazard.

What Are the Three Main Components of a JSA?

A JSA follows the recommended approach for managing workplace health and safety risks. It should include a thorough description of the job task, including each step involved in the task. The analysis also includes a list of every known hazard and risk. The third component is a set of procedures designed to address identified hazards and risks.

Steps for Completing an Effective JSA

The typical JSA process includes six steps. A thorough JSA reviews jobs with the greatest risk of injury. It involves a closer look at job steps and risks, allowing for the development of safer work processes.

Step 1: Select the Job to Be Analysed

The first step is to decide which jobs to analyse. Employers typically start with the tasks that have the greatest potential risk of injury. This often includes jobs where a simple error could cause a severe accident or newly implemented processes. Jobs with complex steps and the risk of injury also require a thorough review.

Many businesses rely on computer software to help assess which jobs present the greatest risks. Prioritising the review of various jobs and tasks allows businesses to address the most dangerous jobs first.

Step 2: Break Down the Job Into a Sequence

After selecting a job, break the job into a sequence of smaller tasks and steps. The sequence should include every task needed to complete the job. However, the sequence should not be too broad or narrow.

If the sequence grows beyond 10 individual tasks, employers should consider dividing the job into two separate sequences. Maintaining a smaller sequence of events reduces the risk of human error.

A job analysis often involves monitoring each job and observing the steps involved. A health and safety representative or supervisor is typically responsible for monitoring the work of an experienced worker to ensure that no tasks are overlooked.

Step 3: Identify Prospective Hazards

When breaking the job into a sequence, HSRs or supervisors should list any identifiable hazards. The hazards are typically identified immediately after reviewing the job, as the hazards are still fresh in the minds of those performing the analysis.

Along with listing detected hazards, supervisors or HSRs should question the employee who completed the task to uncover additional potential hazards. Employees who have experience completing the job are best equipped to identify the risks of the job.

Go through each task in the sequence and discuss the possibility of accidents or injuries. For example, with each step, you may want to know whether there is a risk of excessive strain from pushing or lifting objects or a risk of exposure to extreme cold or heat.

A job safety analysis should also include a review of past workplace accidents and injuries involving the same job. This can give employers a starting point for listing known hazards and addressing the issues that are most likely to result in an accident or injury.

Step 4: Determine Preventive Measures

After identifying hazards and the risk of injury, the next step is to control the hazards. The codes of practice for addressing workplace hazards recommend using a hierarchy of control measures.

About one-fifth of work-related fatalities are caused by inadequate protections for workers. The hierarchy of control measures offers clear steps for addressing hazards. From the order of effectiveness, the control measures include:

  • Eliminating the hazard
  • Substituting the hazard
  • Engineering controls
  • Administrative controls
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Eliminating exposure to a hazard is the most effective control measure but is rarely an option. The second most effective solution is a substitution. If possible, substitute the need for human workers or find a way to complete the task that substitutes the source of the hazard.

Engineering controls involve isolating workers from the hazards. Examples include guard rails, signs, and safety barriers. Administrative controls are used to change the way that workers complete tasks, reducing their exposure to the hazard. This may include rotating employees to limit exposure.

If the previous control measures fail to eliminate or minimise the risks associated with the job task, workers should be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Step 5: Document and Report Hazards

An effective JSA documents and reports all hazards. The findings should be available to all employees. The JSA should be easy to access, read, and understand.

Workers should be fully aware of the risks associated with any job that they are required to complete. Many employers require workers to read the JSA before completing a hazardous job for the first time.

Step 6: Receive Assistance When Necessary

Completing a job safety analysis involves many steps and requires a detailed review of hazardous jobs. Due to the importance of maintaining a safe work environment, employers should consider receiving assistance to develop more effective safety measures.

Employers may receive assistance from computer programs, safety consultants, or training organisations. Effective safety training is often essential for understanding the risks of a job.


According to Safe Work Australia, Western Australia experiences an average of 24 worker fatalities each year. New South Wales (NSW) loses 56 workers to work-related injuries each year. However, the number of fatalities continues to decrease as more companies adopt safer practices.

After completing your job safety analysis, you are unlikely to uncover potential hazards and risks. Safety training from registered training organisations can give workers the skills and knowledge needed to address those hazards and establish better control measures.

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