Job safety analysis (JSA), also known as job hazard analysis (JHA), activity hazard analysis (AHA) or risk assessment (RA), is a safety management tool in which the risks or hazards of a specific job in the workplace are identified, and then measures to eliminate or control those hazards are determined and implemented. More specifically, a job safety analysis is a process of systematically evaluating certain jobs, tasks, processes or procedures and eliminating or reducing the risks or hazards to as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) in order to protect workers from injury or illness. The JSA process is documented and the JSA document is used in the workplace or at the job site to guide workers in safe job performance. The JSA document is also a living document that is adjusted as conditions warrant.

The JSA process begins with identification of the potential hazards or risks associated with a particular job. Once the hazards are understood, the consequences of those hazards are then identified, followed by control measures to eliminate or mitigate the hazards. A more detailed JSA can be performed by breaking the job into steps and identifying specific hazards and control measures for each job step, providing the worker with a documented set of safe job procedures. Some JSA processes also include a risk assessment that lists the probability of each hazard occurring and the severity of the consequences, as well as the effectiveness of the control measures. The US Army Corps of Engineers uses a risk assessment code (RAC) to analyze the level of risk associated with each job step. For more information on RAC, see USACE AHA FORMAT.

The end result of a JSA is an easy to understand document that can be shared with workers as part of pre-job and safety meetings, and/or included as part of worker job descriptions. The JSA process can be used to help refine safe work procedures described in safety manuals or standard operating procedures, and the JSA document can serve as a useful tool in training new employees.

Workers and management need to understand that documentation will not make the job safe. Rather, workers and management must understand the risks and hazards associated with the job and know how to use the chosen controls in such a way as to eliminate or mitigate those risks. The JSA documents the decisions of this process.

What types of job need JSA?

Many different types of jobs can benefit from a JSA, and JSAs are used across many different industries. In determining which jobs may need a JSA more urgently than others, priority should go to the following:

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

(See OSHA publication at

Why is JSA important?

Many workers are injured and killed at the workplace every day in countries all around the world, both in industrialized and non-industrialized countries. Protecting safety and health is critical to employee lives, jobs and business. Systematically looking at workplace operations, establishing proper job procedures and ensuring all employees are properly trained can help mitigate and prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. This is also likely to result in not only fewer worker injuries and illnesses, but also safer and more effective work methods, reduced workers’ legal claims, increased productivity and fewer injury and lost time costs.

JSA as a leading indicator

There is a growing trend among companies today to go beyond measurement of past safety performance and incident reports in developing their safety programs, and proactive measurements of safety. Measurement of past incidents, successes and failures happens after the fact and is considered a “lagging” indicator. Measurement of future performance, or commitment to tangible goals, is considered a “leading” indicator. Performing a job safety analysis (JSA) can help workers and management identify potential hazards before they occur, and implement corrections so that they do not occur. Setting tangible goals to perform safety analyses of all jobs, or to correct all hazards so that they reach a specific minimal level of risk are other examples of using leading indicators to drive a safety program, as opposed to lagging indicators, which measure past performance.

JSA use in incident investigation

In the event of an incident, documentation of the job safety analysis is critical to the team investigating the incident. By reviewing the process and understanding the hazards, controls, job steps and safe practices defined and implemented, incident investigators can gain valuable insight, leading to a better incident investigation, and in turn, better process, safer controls and safer work practices. The JSA document may also be helpful in event of legal remedies sought by aggrieved parties, as it provides a record of how the job is supposed to be performed safely, and the workers who signed off on it.


Further information: Hierarchy of hazard control

What is a hazard?

A hazard is the potential for harm. If left uncontrolled, a hazard could result in injury or harm. A hazard can be a physical object, chemical, noise, radiation, extreme heat or cold, electrical energy or anything else that has the potential to cause harm.

What is a control?

A control is anything that will help to “control” the hazard by either preventing it from occurring or minimizing its impact if it does occur. If a hazard cannot be eliminated, steps should be taken so that the consequences of the hazard are as low as reasonably practical (ALARP).

If a workplace hazard cannot be eliminated or replaced with a non-hazardous substitution, it is necessary to implement hazard controls in order to protect the worker.

Controls can be categorized into three main types: engineering (altering the hazard or access to the hazard), administrative (altering the way in which the job is performed) and personal protective equipment, or PPE (altering the worker and his/her contact with the hazard). The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) echoes the sentiments of many health and safety professionals when it states, “the most effective controls are engineering controls that physically change a machine or work environment to prevent employee exposure to the hazard. The more reliable or less likely a hazard control can be circumvented, the better. If this is not feasible, administrative controls may be appropriate. This may involve changing how employees do their jobs,” ( The generally accepted hierarchy for controls is engineering controls first, administrative controls second and PPE controls third.

Engineering Controls

The U.S. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the use of engineering controls as being to, “remove a hazard or place a barrier between the worker and the hazard,” ( Examples of engineering controls include machine guards on mechanical blades/saws, ventilation systems to control fumes, wetting systems to control dust, circuit breakers and automatic shutoff switches on tanks and high pressure systems.

Administrative Controls

If a hazard cannot be eliminated or minimized to an acceptable risk level by using engineering controls, administrative controls should be considered. Administrative controls change how a worker interacts with the hazard by setting out recommended policies and procedures to minimize worker contact with the hazard. Examples of administrative controls include developing a step by step procedure for performing the job safely, altering worker schedules to a time of day when the hazard is less likely to occur and designing policies such as a buddy-system or lockout/tagout system (which then becomes an engineering control once the system is shutdown). Required specialized training and permits are also often included in the “administrative controls” category.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Controls

If a hazard cannot be eliminated or minimized to an acceptable risk level by using engineering or administrative controls, steps should be taken to protect the worker as he or she interacts with the hazard by using protective clothing or equipment, also known as PPE. Examples of PPE include steel toed shoes, long pants, hard hat, high visibility reflective safety vest, face shield, tyvek suit, respirator and ear plugs.


Who should conduct/create the JSA?

Often, employers, foremen, supervisors and health and safety professionals conduct job safety analyses, which are then reviewed with and/or by workers performing the job. At other times, workers may discover a task on the job site which does not have a written JSA, and may conduct their own JSA on the job site before beginning the task. It is beneficial however to include the work crew in a consultative approach when creating a JSA. Thereby contributing to the identification and mitigation of hazards in a way that creates "buy-in" to ensuring the JSA is adhered to.

How do I conduct/create a JSA?

(excerpts taken from OSHA –

  1. Involve your employees. It is very important to involve your employees in the hazard analysis process. 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 will share ownership in their safety and health program.
  2. Review your accident history. Review with your employees your worksite’s history of accidents and occupational illnesses that needed treatment, losses that required repair or replacement, and any "near misses" – events in which an accident or loss did not occur, but could have. These events are indicators that the existing hazard controls (if any) may not be adequate and deserve more scrutiny.
  3. Conduct a preliminary job review. Discuss with your employees the hazards they know exist in their current work and surroundings. Brainstorm with them for ideas to eliminate or control those hazards. If any hazards exist that pose an immediate danger to a worker’s life or health, take immediate action to protect the worker. Any problems that can be corrected easily should be corrected as soon as possible. Do not wait to complete your job safety analysis. This will demonstrate your commitment to safety and health and enable you to focus on the hazards and jobs that need more study because of their complexity. For those hazards determined to present unacceptable risks, evaluate types of hazard controls.
  4. List, rank, and set priorities for hazardous jobs. List jobs with hazards that present unacceptable risks, and rank them based on those most likely to occur and those with the most severe consequences. These jobs should be your first priority for analysis.
  5. Outline the steps or tasks. Nearly every job can be broken down into job tasks or steps. When beginning a job safety analysis, watch the employee perform the job and list each step as the employee takes it. Be sure to record enough information to describe each job action without getting overly detailed. Avoid making the breakdown of steps so detailed that it becomes unnecessarily long or so broad that it does not include basic steps. You may find it valuable to get input from other workers who have performed the same job. Later, review the job steps with the employee to make sure you have not omitted something. Point out that you are evaluating the job itself, not the employee’s job performance. Include the employee in all phases of the analysis – from reviewing the job steps and procedures to discussing uncontrolled hazards and recommended solutions.

Be sure to document your findings in order to create a written record of your JSA.

Sometimes, in conducting a job safety analysis, it may be helpful to photograph or videotape the worker performing the job. These visual records can be handy references when doing a more detailed analysis of the work. Management and workers may also find it useful to assign a probability and severity ranking to each hazard in the job, denoting how likely – or probable – the hazard is to occur, and the severity of the consequences should it occur.

It is important to remember that the JSA should be performed prior to the start of work, updated as conditions change and reviewed periodically to ensure its accuracy. Many organizations perform and document their JSAs a day or so in advance, and then review them with workers that morning, prior to start of work. This helps ensure that they have taken the time to thoroughly analyze for hazards or risks, and have the appropriate controls in place to eliminate or minimize those hazards before arriving at the job site.

When conditions such as changes in job requirements, site conditions (e.g., weather), manpower or equipment operations (e.g., malfunctions, new equipment) present themselves, it is important to stop and re-analyze the job for potential new hazards created by these changes. New controlling measures should then be put in place to eliminate or minimize the new hazard. If new controls cannot be implemented on the job to reduce the hazard to an acceptable risk level or ALARP, new engineering and administrative controls may need to be devised by job management or supervisors before returning to work.

How do I identify workplace hazards?

A job safety analysis is an exercise in detective work. Your goal is to discover the following:

  • What can go wrong?
  • What are the consequences?
  • How could the hazard arise?
  • What are other contributing factors?
  • How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

To make your job safety analysis useful, document the answers to these questions in a consistent manner. Describing a hazard in this way helps to ensure that your efforts to eliminate the hazard and implement hazard controls help target the most important contributors to the hazard.

Good hazard scenarios describe:

  • Where it is happening (environment),
  • To whom or what it is happening (exposure),
  • What precipitates the hazard (trigger),
  • The outcome that would occur should it happen (consequence), and
  • Any other contributing factors?

Example Scenario

Rarely is a hazard a simple case of one singular cause resulting in one singular effect. More frequently, many contributing factors tend to line up in a certain way to create the hazard. Here is an example of a hazard scenario:

In the metal shop (environment), snags in a machine are periodically encountered and need be cleared (trigger). The worker uses his hand (exposure) to clear the snag from a rotating pulley.

To perform a job safety analysis, you would ask:

  • What can go wrong? The worker’s hand could come into contact with a rotating object that "catches" it and pulls it into the machine.
  • What are the consequences? The worker could receive a severe injury or lose fingers or hand.
  • How could it happen? The accident could happen as a result of the worker trying to clear a snag during operations or as part of a maintenance activity while the pulley is operating. Obviously, this hazard scenario could not occur if the pulley is not rotating.
  • What are other contributing factors? Because this hazard occurs very quickly, it does not give the worker much opportunity to recover or prevent it once his hand comes into contact with the pulley. This is an important contributing factor to note, because it helps you determine the severity and likelihood of the accident when selecting appropriate hazard controls.
  • How likely is it that the hazard will occur? In the example, the likelihood that the hazard will occur is high because there is no guard preventing contact, and the operation is performed while the machine is running. Other factors to consider include past "near-misses" or actual cases, which show that the likelihood of recurrence is high, and if the pulley is exposed and easily accessible, also contributing to a high likelihood of occurrence. By following the steps in this example, you can organize your hazard analysis activities.
  • What can be done to eliminate or minimize the hazard? In the example, we see that the rotating pulley is a hazard to the worker’s hand. One way we could “control” this hazard is to install a machine guard to provide a barrier between the worker’s hand and the rotating pulley. This is an engineering control. We could also implement an administrative control. Issuing a policy that requires the worker to power off the machine any time there is a snag would be an example of an administrative control. This will prevent the worker’s hand from making contact with the pulley while it is rotating.

Our JSA for this scenario would include a description of the job the worker is performing (grinding metal), the types of hazards the worker could encounter (including the example above, as well as any other hazards that could occur) and the different ways in which those potential hazards will be eliminated or minimized.

(Instruction and example excerpts taken from OSHA publication at

Practical questions you might ask to help identify potential hazards include:

  • Can any body part get caught in or between objects?
  • Do tools, machines or equipment present any hazards?
  • Can the worker make harmful contact with moving objects?
  • Can the worker slip, trip or fall?
  • Can the worker suffer strain from lifting, pushing or pulling?
  • Is the worker exposed to extreme heat or cold?
  • Is excessive noise or vibration a problem?
  • Is there a danger from falling objects?
  • Is lighting a problem?
  • Can weather conditions affect safety?
  • Is harmful radiation a possibility?
  • Can contact be made with hot, toxic or caustic substances?
  • Are there dusts, fumes, mists or vapors in the air?
  • Can the worker make plant, insect or animal contact?
  • Can any foreign object contact the eyes?

(excerpts taken from Canada OSH at

Other formats

USACE AHA format

For U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) jobs, an Activity Hazard Analysis (AHA) including a specific equipment, equipment inspection and training section, as well as a risk assessment code (RAC) describing the level of probability and severity of the risk associated with each job step, is often required.

Please see U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Activity Hazard Analysis page at for more information regarding specific USACE AHA formats.



“Safe Work Australia is an independent statutory agency with primary responsibility to improve occupational health and safety and workers' compensation arrangements across Australia.”

Australia’s “Work Safety Act” Risk Assessment informational page –


“The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has a vision: the elimination of work-related illnesses and injuries. We serve Canadians – and the world – with credible and relevant tools and resources to improve workplace health and safety programs. We encourage you to join us in creating a work world without pain, loss or tragedy. We believe that all Canadians have a fundamental right to a healthy and safe working environment. Through our programs, services, knowledge, commitment, and action, CCOHS will continue its efforts to advance health and safety in the workplace.”

CCOHS Job Safety Analysis page –

United States of America

“With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

“OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA's administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.”

OSHA does not currently require or mandate JSAs across all industries, it does however require JSAs or similar analysis for inclusion in its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

OSHA Job Hazard Analysis information – or PDF version –


Sample JSA




(1) Prepare Surface Using Electric Wire Brush

Vibration white finger

Wear thick gloves
Use vibrating tool no more than 20 minutes at a time and for no more than 2 hours a shift


Paint dust possibly containing lead

Wear a P3 organic vapor mask when disturbing old paint. Wear disposable coveralls. Wash hands thoroughly before eating or smoking. Thorough housekeeping.


Slips trips and falls

Route all electrical cables sensibly to keep walkways and stairs free of hazards.



Wear broad brim and SPF 40+ sun block.

(2) Paint Handrails

Damage to adjacent surfaces from thinners and paint

Use drop sheets


Exposure to fumes from thinners

If poorly ventilated, use P3 organic vapor mask


Paint in eyes

Wear safety goggles when working above shoulder height, safety glasses at other times



Keep containers of thinners and flammable solvents closed properly and stored in a cool place away from sources of sparks; keep appropriate fire extinguisher in work area

(3) Housekeeping

Slip and trip hazards

Remove waste to bin, tools to store, ensure barriers and signs are in place to denote wet paint.

Other considerations

Assessing Risk Levels

Some organizations have additional columns for risk level. The level of risk is assessed both before applying the control and after applying the control. Risk (in the sphere of OH&S) is defined as Probability X Consequence. Qualitative Risk Assessment uses a Risk Matrix to assess the level of Risk. A risk simple risk matrix looks like this:

Assessing risk levels.

Consequence is measured on the Y-axis, and Probability is measured on the X-axis. Therefore using a grinder without eye goggles has a high probability of causing an adverse event, and has high consequences (blindness) so it represents a high risk. Using the grinder whilst wearing eye goggles reduces this hazard to low probability and low consequences.

Assessing the level of Residual Risk using a risk matrix is recorded on a JSA like this:





(3) Housekeeping Slip and trip hazards M H H Remove waste to bin, tools to store, ensure barriers and signs are in place to denote wet paint. L L L

The initial risk IR (before putting controls in place) is High, according to the Risk Matrix. The Residual Risk RR, after controlling the hazard (in this case with good housekeeping) is Low. If the Residual Risk is not Low, the work group must devise more or better controls until the RR is resolved to Low.

Identifying Responsibilities

Another column that is often added to the basic three columns in 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.

After the JSA worksheet is completed

After the JSA worksheet is completed, the work group that is about to perform the task should have a toolbox talk, and discuss the hazards and controls, delegate responsibilities, ensure that all equipment and PPE described in the JSA are available, that contingencies such as fire fighting are understood, communication channels and hand signals are agreed etcetera. Then, if everybody in the work group feels that it is safe to proceed with task, work should 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 recommence when every member of the work group feels 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.

Tips and Tricks

It is vitally important that workers 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, contractual disputes, and court cases.

Everybody in the workforce should be involved in creating the JSA. The more minds, the more year of experience applied to analysing the hazards in a job, the more successful the work group will be in controlling them.


In addition to the official government websites listed above, there are a number of online tools available to help workers, management and the general public understand and develop their own job safety analyses. Please note that some of these tools are free, while others must be purchased.

  • JSABuilder – online subscription service, walking users through JSA and USACE AHA creation and providing multi-user access for multiple users from the same company; JSA/AHA is database driven and prompts user with a series of questions in order to create a final JSA; offers a free 30 day trial –
  • JSAReporter – word processing template available for purchase; user purchases the product for download –
  • ClickSafety – offers an online Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) course that explains what a JHA is, why it is important and how to create a JHA, in addition to walking users through an example and providing several templates and documents for download (downloads are free with purchase of course) –
  • The National Safety Council (NSC) – offers an online JSA course for purchase –, see also
  • Several state and local governments, universities and other organizations maintain their own JSA/AHA libraries and templates online:


  • Maersk Contractors (2005)MODU Procedures Manual Edition 1, 3.7 "Conduct of Safe Job Analysis"
  • Roughton,J and Crutchfield,N (2008) "Job Hazard Analysis, A Guide for Voluntary Compliance and Beyond," Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-7506-8346-3
  • Roughton,J and Mercurio,J (2002) "Developing an Effective Safety Culture: A Leadership Approach," Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-7506-7411-9