July 2017 Newsletter:

Job Hazard Assessments

Ergonomics often goes hand in hand with health and safety: both professions require careful assessment of the work environment to identify different types of hazards that could cause injury. Ergonomics tends to focus on hazards that are related to movement (as we�ll discuss in next month�s newsletter), whereas Health and Safety typically looks at safety hazards in with a broader scope and documents all these hazards in the form of a Job Hazard Assessment (JHA).

When conducting a JHA, ergonomists look at both the worker and their environment for things that have potential to cause injury. Once hazards and risks are identified, they should also provide instructions on how to work safely, and recommendations for additional control options. To give you an idea of the types of things the team at PROergonomics looks for when assessing job hazards, below are a couple of examples:

Example 1: Industrial Kitchen Hazards

  • Hot: stove/skillet/grill top, ovens, steamers, grease fires, dishwasher, boiling water
  • Sharp Objects: knives, meat slicers
  • Slips/Trips/Falls: spills and liquids on floors
  • Entanglement: meat grinders, electric mixers
  • Ergonomic: repetitive arm, hand, and wrist movements; prolonged gripping

Example 2: Construction Site Hazards

  • Slips/Trips/Falls: working at heights (on roof tops/scaffolding)
  • Run Over: heavy machinery on-site and in use
  • Struck By: falling debris/flying debris from power tools
  • Electrical: live wires

While not exhaustive, these list gives you an idea of the types of hazards PROergonomics would be looking for when assessing a workplace. JHAs have multiple uses and can be an effective tool in identifying risk and opportunity for improvement. Consider the following ways that these documents can be used:

  • Hazard and risk identification
  • Identification of gaps where additional safety measures may be warranted
  • Training resource for safety training
  • Orientation/new hire training

A Job Hazard Assessment takes you through the entire safety process, starting with identification of hazards and their potential to cause injury, moving to the controls currently in place to deal with hazards, and finally providing safe work instructions to give employees the knowledge they need to work safety.

A JHA, if used correctly, can be the cornerstone upon which a strong safety program is built.

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