Workers' Compensation Tip: The Importance of Conducting JSAs to Reduce Work-Related Injuries

Many work-related injuries can be attributed to strenuous tasks, repetitive motion, and unsafe procedures. In healthcare, the multitude of tasks in various departments exposes staff members to injury. One way that risk managers can reduce exposure is to conduct a job safety analysis to identify ways to create safer procedures to accomplish the job at hand.

A job safety analysis (JSA) is a procedure that helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation. In a JSA, each basic step of the job is analyzed to identify potential hazards and recommend the safest way to do the job. Other terms used to describe this procedure are job hazard analysis (JHA) and job hazard breakdown.

Healthcare group meeting

Conduct an Efficient JSA

Follow these five critical steps to conduct an adequate analysis that will help ensure safer and more efficient worksites:

1. Involve Staff Members
It is critical to include all staff members, in each phase of the job safety analysis process. Involving staff members by allowing them to share their experiences can help minimize oversights, ensure quality results, and get the team to share ownership in their safety and health program. Although staff members have a wealth of insight into how day-to-day job duties are achieved, it is important to consider that they may leave out some of the more general aspects of their daily tasks when documenting a process that has become so second nature.

Consider asking staff members questions to gather valuable information regarding the job, such as:

  • What is the most difficult or strenuous task you perform? Or,
  • What part of the job is overwhelming and causes the most stress?

2. Identify and Prioritize Jobs to Analyze
Before risk managers can dive into potential worksite hazards, they should first segment the jobs or tasks by highest priority, or rather, by the areas with the most risk.

List jobs that present severe risks first, based on accidents most likely to occur with the most severe consequences. Prioritizing the order that the jobs should be analyzed is an effective way to ensure that the most critical jobs are examined first and given the resources they need. Employers should look at the following:

  • jobs with the highest number of injuries or illness
  • jobs with the highest potential for injury or illness
  • jobs in which a simple human error could lead to severe damages
  • newly implemented jobs and processes, or ones that have undergone multiple changes
  • complex jobs

3. Break down Job Tasks
The identification of tasks allows for the identification of risks. To perform an accurate analysis, selected jobs should be broken down into defined, individual tasks. Maintaining the proper sequence that tasks are performed is critical to ensure hazards are addressed in the order they are encountered.

A general rule is to assign no more than ten individual tasks for each job. Task breakdowns are typically accomplished through direct observation by a direct supervisor and employee familiar with the job recording the series of individual tasks as they are performed.

Observing staff members performing the tasks is critical to the process and can help ensure that tasks are recorded in the proper sequence with a high level of specificity, helping to identify unforeseen hazards more easily.

4. List and Set Priorities for Potential Hazards
Consider every possible outcome that could occur. Hazards should be identified immediately after observing jobs and the job task breakdown. Examine potential areas where injuries, errors, falls, or trips could take place.

Check all the equipment and identify any potential risks or hazards. Note if workers have any exposure to toxic/hazardous substances, harmful radiation, electrical hazards, extreme temperatures, etc.

5. Develop Preventative Measures
OSHA issued a hierarchy of controls used for developing preventive measures for hazards associated with job tasks. The five controls include:

  • Elimination – remove the hazard entirely
  • Substitution – replace the hazard at once
  • Engineering controls – redesign the work area so that the hazard is eliminated or reduced
  • Administration controls – change how employees work around a hazard to reduce the risk
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – protect employees who work in hazardous areas

Some of the more critical hazards facing healthcare workers are:

  • Lifting and moving objects or patients
  • Slip, trip, and fall exposures
  • Sharp objects
  • Violence and aggression
  • Chemical, radiation, and bloodborne exposures

If done properly and thoroughly, these JSA’s can expose problems with processes, procedures, careless work habits, obsolete equipment, and antiquated policies.

Need More Resources?

Access our Job Safety Analysis Worksheet here to begin to formulate a JSA process at your healthcare facility today.

About the Author

Stacie Jenkins 150

Stacie Jenkins, RN, MSN, CPSO
Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk, LHA Trust Funds

Stacie Jenkins is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing informatics. She has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare, working in patient care and quality/performance improvement positions. As the Vice President of Patient Safety & Risk at LHA Trust Funds, she works closely with hospital administrators, risk managers, and nursing staff to improve patient safety and establish best practices. She conducts on-site assessments and gives presentations designed to help clients address their patient safety risk management challenges.

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