What’s the difference between Job Safety Analysis and Job Hazard Analysis?

by Dr. Alfred Capuano

Job Hazard Analysis is a tool that safety professionals have used for over 70 years.  As early as 1940, there have been analysis systems that considered the actions of workers as they worked and of their machinery.

The early term, Job Analysis (JA), became Job Safety Analysis (JSA), and in recent years, the term Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) came to the forefront.

Even today, many confuse JSA with JHA.  JSA has probably been used more than any of these analysis systems, but it only considers three things:

  1. The specific job steps needed to complete the job,
  2. The hazard or hazards involved with each step, and
  3. The safety measures used to avoid the hazard in each step.

JHA adds “risk assessment” to the JSA procedure by including an evaluation of risk (at each step), and by classifying and identifying probability” and severity.”  And that is the major distinction between JSA and JHA.

“The JHA is used to assess the existing and potential hazards of a job, understand the consequences of risk, and act as an aid in helping identify, eliminate, and control hazards” (Roughton, James E. and Nathan Crutchfield, Job Hazard Analysis: A Guide for Voluntary Compliance and Beyond, Elsevier Inc., Oxford, UK, 2008).

As I tell my safety science students at Indiana University, “A JHA is like a JSA on steroids!”


So, what do the terms “risk assessment,” “probability,” and “severity” mean?

Risk is a function of two variables—probability and severity.  The greater the probability and severity, the greater the risk.  Or, Risk = Probability + Severity.

“Probability” means the likelihood of injury or illness, using terms like “Unlikely,” “Likely,” and “Very Likely.”  “Severity” is defined as an estimate of how serious the injury or illness will be, using terms like “Minor,” “Serious,” and “Fatal.”

Risk Assessment may be used in varying degrees of depth and detail using one or many of the Risk Assessment Techniques listed in ANSI Z690.3-2011.

Where can I find information on the various Risk Assessment Techniques, such as which to use in a particular situation, pros and cons of the various techniques, etc.? 

First, attend seminars such as those presented by BLR® and ASSE.  Second, while at these seminars— network, network, network!  Third, get a copy of ANSI/ASSE/IEC/ISO 31010 (Z690.3-2011), Risk Assessment Techniques.  While you are at it, get copies of ANSI/ASSE/ISO Guide 73 (Z690.1-2011), Vocabulary for Risk Management, and ANSI/ASSE/ISO 31000 (Z690.2-2011), Risk Management Principles and Guidelines. 

Don't miss BLR Safety Summit 2017 this April. Register for the conference here and don't miss National Safety Council's JoAnn Dankert's preconference learning workshop on Job Hazard Analysis: Risk Management and Assessment.

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