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What is a Job Site Hazard Assessment (Definition & Usage)

It’s clear you want to learn more about JHA’s, and that’s likely because you care about safety. Your company probably has good intentions when it comes to keeping your workers safe, in fact; I bet you are already doing something such as Toolbox Talks.

You know you should be doing more, but you aren’t quite sure what that looks like because you don’t have a safety background. You also aren’t quite ready to hire a dedicated safety professional, and that’s all okay.

You aren’t the first contractor to feel lost in the safety abyss, and you don’t have to do it alone. There is no need to reinvent the wheel because we are about to hand you the keys to the whole car.

What is a Job Site Hazard Assessment?

A Job Site Hazard Assessment, commonly referred to as a JHA, is a report that a foreman completes with their crew on the job site every morning before work starts. It is designed to focus the crew’s attention on safety and to take PREVENTATIVE MEASURES to ensure incidents don’t occur.

3 Components of a Job Site Hazard Assessment

Other than collecting the location details at the start and signatures at the end, here are the three main parts of a JHA:

1. The Tasks

  • Workers identify what they will be doing specifically that day
  • Examples: load material, demolition, install product, etc.

2. The Hazards

  • Based on the tasks for the day, create a list of potential hazards
  • Examples: climbing ladders, working at heights, working with an open flame, extreme hot / cold weather, large machines, etc

3. The Controls

  • For every hazard listed, determine what controls will be used to eliminate, contain or reduce each hazard.
  • Examples: secure ladders, use personal fall arrest systems, wear personal protective equipment, take breaks to warm up / cool down, only trained employees operating machines etc.

My Guys Don’t Have the Knowledge to Fill Out A JHA

My job at Harness is to take the paper forms that contractors are currently using, and turn them into an electronic version. That means I’ve seen thousands of versions of this form, and I know what works and what doesn’t.

The main issue with a JHA is how they are filled out, and typically that is not very well. Most crews are able to list tasks and hazards, as they generally know what parts of their job are potentially dangerous.

The problem arises when they aren’t knowledgeable enough to fill in the control section. We don’t blame them for this, they are construction experts, not safety reps. So this section tends to contain guesses, or worse, is left blank, leaving your workers with inaccurate and incomplete safety plans.

Cue the downward spiral; the less they know, the less effort they put into it, the less the exercise is useful, until eventually it just isn’t done at all and you are right back here looking for help.

The Solution

This is why we created our own electronic JHA that automatically populates potential controls for each hazard selected. When your workers say they are using a ladder, they are provided with 4 or 5 ways to ensure they set up and use the ladder safely, all they have to do is check the boxes to create the plan, and then follow it.

Filling it out is easy and your crews will consider it a useful resource, which means they will actually do it. Our JHA is more than a form, it’s a teaching tool that makes your job site safer, and provides your company with the documentation you need if there ever was an incident.

If your crews are knowledgeable enough to try out the paper form first, you can download it below. If you’d rather see our JHA in action, book demo.

Regardless of the process you choose, you are on the right track because a JHA a day, helps keep incidents away!

By Sue Drummond

Sue Drummond knows that learning new technology can be intimidating and overwhelming sometimes. That's exactly why her role at Harness Software is to teach, guide and customize that fear away. Together with our clients, she sets project priorities, exchanges resources and shares best practices, all in an effort to achieve happier and healthier employees and safer job sites.