Nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2012 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013) and 4,383 workers died on the job (National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2013).
Among all the workers who are injured on the job, how many thought to themselves, "I've done this job hundreds of times; I'm not going to get hurt." Until the moment happens to them and it's too late.
Unfortunately, many employees think they are doing their job correctly when in reality they are working in an unsafe manner. This is not to say that the job was done incorrectly to begin with, but over time deviations from the proper procedure can occur. When that happens, workers adapt their work methods to the ever-changing workplace. In time, this can result in at-risk work practices becoming normalized into routine procedures. In an effort of trying to correct these improper deviations, employees will look at the job as a whole and overlook crucial hazards instead of breaking the task down into its component steps. This is a common, worldwide problem.
A job hazard analysis (JHA) is one answer to this problem.. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) define a JHA as "a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment" (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2002).
JHAs are an essential part of a comprehensive safety program. However, the JHA is often overlooked as a particularly beneficial training tool, and without it the potential for injuries and fatalities is elevated. A JHA is not just about identifying hazards and risks. It is a transformative process that illuminates how specific aspects of a job are performed, allowing workers to rate risks associated with each task and prioritize corrective actions to eliminate those risks. Ultimately, it changes worker's attitudes toward their jobs.