Job Hazard Analysis for Worksite Safety

OSHA recently issued notices of safety violations to a U.S. Army Reserve base after a federal civilian employee was fatally injured when the automated lifting mechanism of a utility vehicle cargo box failed and pinned him between the bed and the vehicle frame. OSHA investigators determined that there was not an adequate hazardous energy control program in place and failed to provide required injury and illness records to OSHA in a timely manner.

“Employees must be trained on how to safely perform work activities,” said OSHA Oakland Area Director Amber Rose. “This tragedy could have been prevented had a job hazard analysis been conducted, and an effective safety and health program been in place.”

Hazard identification can be broken into five key elements, four categories of identification tools and the prioritization step. The goal is to have a safety program in place to continuously identify hazards in your workplace.

Collect Information

Review all information you may already have available to find hazards that have already been identified by others. Examples include:

  • Equipment manuals
  • Safety data sheets
  • Inspection reports
  • Insurance reports
  • Past incident data
  • Consultation reports

Inspect and Observe

Inspect equipment and work areas when not in operation, using common sense and drawing on the knowledge of the operators to identify potential hazards. Be sure to observe processes in action as well; doing so may uncover additional hazards that would not be otherwise obvious.

Involve Workers

Often, talking to your workers and listening to their feedback is the most effective way to quickly find hazards. Be sure to stay engaged with them and listen closely, as they may not always know that they are describing a hazard.

Investigate Incidents

Although the goal is zero incidents, when one happens, it is important to take the incident as an opportunity to learn about hazards that may have been overlooked. Investigate to find true root causes and address systemic issues.


Evaluate the hazards you have identified and mitigate the most hazardous first. Hazards can be assessed both in terms of severity (how bad is the potential outcome) and exposure (how likely is an occurrence). Typically, a combination of these two factors plays into the prioritization of mitigations. For the purpose of the Hazard Identification Training Tool game, details about mitigations and controls are not included or referenced.

As always, properly training employees is the cornerstone of avoiding injuries on the worksite. A job hazard analysis will help to formulate an effective safety program. For more information and a complementary safety audit, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

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