April 3, 2020

How a job hazard analysis can help your business during uncertain times

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing businesses to adjust their operations, your employees may take on new duties and face new hazards, such as exposure to the new coronavirus.

Instead of guessing which new hazards your business may stumble upon, it’s vital to use a job hazard analysis (JHA) to lay out the new potential risks your employees may face. JHAs allow you to identify workplace safety and health hazards before they occur, and implement strategies or controls to eliminate or reduce the hazards in order to prevent injuries and illnesses.

Performing a JHA also shows you care about and value your workers during these uncertain times.

What does the process look like? You start by breaking a job into individual tasks. Then you determine how the coronavirus and other hazards could impact your worker during these tasks. Take, for example, the job of a grocery store cashier:

  • Task: Scanning groceries.
  • Hazard: Customer coughs or sneezes while standing in the checkout line.
  • Hazard Control: Install a sneeze guard between the cashier and the customer in the checkout lane.

You can use our job hazard analysis worksheet to document the sequence of tasks for each job, identify workplace hazards, pinpoint when and where they occur, and implement preventive measures to avoid them.

Addressing on-the-job hazards

During a COVID-19 outbreak, it may not be possible to eliminate the hazard. Employers should select and implement controls from the hierarchy of controls that are the most feasible and effective to eliminate or reduce potential exposure to the coronavirus. These controls consist of engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE).