Safety & Health

Guide for Developing Job Safety Analyses & Safe Work Procedures

While Administrative Controls may not be the most effective hazard control method, they are still extremely valuable to sustainable an lasting change in most organizations.

What is a Job Safety Analysis or Safe Work Procedure?

Job Safety Analyses (JSA) and Safety Work Procedures (SWP) (also known as job hazard analysis/analyses, pre job plan, safe work plan, etc.) are step by step instructions for doing work the right way. JSAs and SWPs identify the materials and equipment needed, how and when to use them, and usually include:

  • regulatory requirements;
  • personal protective equipment requirements;
  • training requirements;
  • responsibilities of each person involved in the job;
  • a specific sequence of steps to follow to complete the work safely; permits required;
  • emergency procedures.

Why Use a JSA or SWP?

JSAs and SWPs are generally prepared for jobs that:

  • are critical (high risk jobs where accidents have or could result in severe injuries);
  • are hazardous and where accidents occur frequently;
  • new or have been changed;
  • have had new equipment added;
  • require many detailed tasks;
  • involve two or more workers who must perform specific tasks simultaneously;
  • are done infrequently.

10 Steps to Create a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) or Safe Work Procedure (SWP)

  1. An easy way to develop a job safety analysis or safe work procedure procedure is to break the task into small steps. For each step, determine the hazards and ways to correct them. Some hazards to think about include: being struck by moving equipment; coming in contact with hazardous substances; hitting obstructions or other workers; becoming caught in machinery; falling; being struck by objects falling from above; suffering from exposure to toxic gases, insufficient oxygen or extreme temperatures.
  2. You can then use the breakdown of hazards and corrective measures to prepare a written JSA or SWP. Consider using the following process to develop your safe work procedures. List all jobs on your work sites that meet the criteria above. Concentrate on those that have potential for: serious injuries; frequent injures; severe property damage; significant interruptions to production; public liability; government intervention.
  3. Put the list of jobs in order by the degree of hazard they present and the frequency they are performed.
  4. Analyze each job by observing and interviewing workers. Record the following information: job name and location; each step of the job and its hazards; roles of each worker involved; special equipment required; applicable regulatory requirements.
  5. Determine the measures needed to control job hazards, such as: engineering controls to eliminate hazards; worker training; personal protective and safety equipment; hazard markings; safety meetings.
  6. If engineering controls or worker training can be used to permanently eliminate or reduce the impact of hazards, implement them.
  7. Prepare your safe work procedure by listing (in order of occurrence) each: step of the job; control measure required (excluding one time measures such as engineering controls and development of training); regulatory requirement; special equipment required; specific training requirement for workers (e.g., BOP Level l or journeyman electrician).
  8. Test the procedure in the field to ensure it: is accurate; meets regulatory requirements; is understandable to workers.
  9. Finalize the written procedure and place it at appropriate work sites.
  10. Train workers in the procedures.

7 Ineffective Safety Practices (and what to do instead)

Your Safety Management System (SMS) hitting a roadblock? Real safety culture change not occurring in your facility? Maybe you (and senior managment) are looking it all wrong. Here are few Do’s and Don’ts for improving the effectiveness of your safety program.


  1. Focus on Leading Indicators – Know where you are going, not focus solely on where you have been.
  2. Reinforce Correct Behavior – Strengthen what’s working and discourage inappropriate behaviors within your Behavior Based Safety system.
  3. Focus on needs-based training – can’t do, train for fluency; won’t do – Change the consequences and ultimately the outcome – go beyond compliance.
  4. Speak with your Actions, not your Words – Demonstrate commitment and uphold integrity.
  5. Analyze and take Action – Avoid the blame game for past accountability lapses. Develop accountability processes that expect future results and hold true to them.
  6. Encourage Near Miss / Near Hit / Close Call Reporting – Some of your most valuable data can come from the data associated with near misses. Encourage reporting. Don’t place blame but use as a learning opportunity. As your program matures, so will the near miss reporting processes.
  7. Be a Safety Coach – Build on what is right in your safety program and don’t focus on what is wrong. Be an encourager and not a defeatist.


  1. Focus on Lagging Indicators – While lagging indicators can let you know where you have been, they should not be your focus and road map on where your safety program and management system is going. Be proactive rather than reactive.
  2. Implement Injury based Incentive Systems – Injury based incentive systems can drive injury and near miss reporting underground, which can cause a false sense of hope. Additionally, OSHA has specifically addressed and discouraged these type of incentive programs.
  3. Rely Solely on Awareness Training – While awareness level training is important, it shouldn’t be the breadth of your training program. Use your data from DO #3 and focus on where your gaps and needs are. Spend your training capital there.
  4. Rely on Motivational Signs & Messages – “Safety Starts with You”, “Think Through It Before You Do It”, etc. At best, you get some (slight) short term benefit, if any. Signage is quickly ignored, overlooked, and blends in with the environment. Don’t depend on motivational signage as your safety culture booster.
  5. Force Compliance via Blame and Discipline – Nothing on this list more quickly puts safety shortcuts into the underground than the prevalence of blame and discipline within an organization. Don’t fall into the trap. Accountability, yes. A focus on Blame and Discipline, no.
  6. Discourage Near Miss Reporting – All incidents are not created equal. And this goes with near misses as well. Review your accountability methods to ensure you are not using DON’T #5 to discourage near miss reporting. Near misses must be treated as learning opportunities. Use them to your benefit.
  7. Be the Safety Cop – You don’t want people to comply just because you come walking through the facility. You want your employees to seek you out for assistance to safety questions or concerns. Without building relationship (coach) and by leading by force (cop), you will surely send your safety culture reeling.

Graphic Source: Aubrey Daniels International

Examples of Permissible Occupational Drug Testing

When can I perform drug testing in the workplace?

  • Random drug testing
  • Drug testing unrelated to reporting of work-related injury or illness
  • Drug testing under state workers’ compensation law
  • Drug testing under other federal law, such as US DOT regulation
  • Drug testing to evaluate root cause of workplace incident that harmed, or could have harmed, employees
  • Note: If the employer chooses to use drug testing to investigate an incident, the employer should test all employees whose conduct could have contributed to the incident, not just the employee(s) who reported injuries.

Source: OSHA

Quick Safety Observation Card – Free Template Quick Safety Observation Card (front)

Performing safety observations are one of the easiest and most effective methods of checking the pulse of the safety culture in your organization. Through safety observations, you are able to observe and understand actual safety-related conditions and behaviors in your facility, and more importantly, do something about it. The results of your safety observations should lead to:

  • a ‘Thank You’ (observing a safe behavior),
  • a ‘Conversation’ (observing an unsafe behavior), or
  • an ‘Action’ (observing an unsafe condition). Quick Safety Observation Card (back)

The Quick Safety Observation template (.pdf format) provides a quick method to document a safety observation for entry into your facility’s safety tracking system. Note: The cards are pocket sized (approximately 3″x5″) and should be printed front and back. 4 cards are on each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Download the Word format HERE.

Basis for Conducting Safety Observations

Carnegie Mellon recently did a study where they reviewed 112 Million Safety Observations from 15,000 worksites.  From the review of the data, they were able to develop predictive models that were between 90-97% effective in predicting injuries.  And it boiled down to 4 factors of influence.  The 4 Safety Truths.

4 Safety Truths

  1. More inspections predict a safer worksite.
    • More eyes increases safety.
  2. More inspectors, specifically outside of the safety function, predict a safer worksite.
    • Getting everyone involved, increases safety.
  3. Too many 100% safe inspections predicts an unsafe worksite. 
    • You are flying blind.
    • Encourage finding of “unsafes” to increase safety.
  4. Too many unsafe inspections predicts an unsafe worksite. 
    • Self-explanatory.

What Kind of Observer are You?

  1. Balanced – documents safe/unsafe behaviors & unsafe conditions, equally
  2. Pencil Whipper – documents only safe behaviors or conditions
  3. Non-Confronter – does not document behaviors, only conditions
  4. Fault Finder – does not document safe behaviors, only unsafe
  5. Non-Participant – does not document , i.e. “I’m too busy”

Incorporating KPIs into your Safety Management System

Assume for a moment that your facility has the basis for a Safety Management System (SMS).  Are you measuring its effectiveness?  Are you looking at the trends to see what’s behind and what’s ahead?  Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, “what gets measured gets managed.”  Measuring the performance of your SMS is conducted through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  KPIs will help you to demonstrate to all levels in your organization where your SMS stands.  Simplified, it’s based on the Deming Wheel, or Plan – Do – Check – Act (PDCA) model. 


  • Gather Support
    • Support from top management is an absolute.  Safety should not be considered the sole responsibility of the site Safety Lead/Team.
    • Do you have the support of leadership?  Have they committed to UAS (Understand – Accept – Support) the process?  Do you have members from other areas of the organization developing and supporting the framework around the KPIs? 
  • Identify Metrics
    • Identify the existing metrics that your organization uses. 
    • Is your organization solely meeting compliance (i.e. are you only tracking lagging indicators based on injury rate)?  Have you incorporated leading indicators into your metrics?  Have you established criteria around what is acceptable performance?  .
  • Communicate the Plan
    • Communication is a key factor in Safety.  Communicate early and often.
    • Do you have an effective plan to communicate established KPIs to all levels of your organization?


  • Start Small
    • If you are just beginning to establish KPIs or are looking to expand what you are measuring, start small, but just start.  Use the KISS (Keep it Simply Simple) method. 
    • You are tracking lagging indicators (e.g. total case incident rate), can you add one to two leading indicators to your KPIs?
  • Involve Others (outside of the Safety Team)
    • Involve other areas and multiple levels within the organization (front line employees and supervisors, Engineering, etc.). 
    • Do others in the organization have actionable and measureable “skin in the game”?  Is their input valued?
  • Establish Expectations
    • In your very busy work environment, starting small is vitally important if you are adding new expectations for employees, however establishing (and tracking adherence to) expectations is a must. 
    • What are the expectations around the established KPIs?


  • Measure Success
    • The information gathered from the KPIs must translate into success.  Use your lagging indicators as a basis for cross-checking your tracked leading indicators.
    • Are the KPIs that you are tracking resulting in a decrease in severity or incident rate?  Are risks being reduced?
  • Ensure Outputs Add Value
    • KPIs that you are tracking, must provide meaningful information.  P-D-C-A this individual component. 
    • Can I act on the information that the KPIs are providing?  What is the path forward?
  • Solicit Feedback
    • Don’t live in a “safety bubble”.  Get feedback from people in the organization and prepare to act on it.  Soft feedback is often just as important as hard data. 


  • Refine or Redefine
    • Take the information learned in the “Check” phase to refine your KPIs.  Don’t be afraid to change it up. 
    • Metric X isn’t providing insightful or actionable information, what are you missing?
  • Take Action
    • If it’s not working, do something different, but just do something.  If it is working, identify ways to make it better.
    • How can you continuously improve your organizations safety results?  What KPIs have you identified that you are not tracking?  How can you incorporate those KPIs into your SMS?
  • Achieve Sustainability
    • If you don’t put the systems in place to make capturing and reviewing your KPIs maintainable, you are expending unnecessary effort. 
    • Are these KPIs providing real value to your organization?

An effective SMS is vital in today’s lean work environments.  Establishing value-added KPIs help your organization evaluate the effectiveness of the SMS and can serve as a basis for continuously improving safety within your organization.

Source: Paper360 May/June 2019 – George Bower

Complying with the OSHA Silica Standards

Looking for resources on interpreting the crystalline silica standard?

When guarding against exposure to silica, the protection of our employees must remain the primary focus. However, protection of the “bottom line” should also play a part as OSHA has ramped up it’s enforcement of the standard (read: VA contractor faces $300K in fines over silica violations).

How do you effectively comply with the standard? ASSP recently released a resource entitled “Silica Resource Guide for Contractors” that provides a FAQ for the questions contractors are asking, including:

  • when air sampling is required
  • how to use “objective data”
  • medical surveillance requirements
  • respiratory protection requirements, etc.

Additionally, OSHA has released a 64- question FAQ for general industry on it’s Respirable Crystalline Silica standard (29 CFR 1910.1053) and a FAQ for the construction industry (29 CFR 1926.1153).

BCSP Offers Free Quizzes for Recertification

The BCSP (Board of Certified Safety Professionals) is offering free quizzes for recertification.  The quizzes provide a great opportunity for CE credits and is available the web or through mobile apps (Google or Apple).  Every online quiz is worth 0.1 CM points and there are currently 58 quizzes available as of this writing.  The quizzes are broken into two general categories based on publication (Professional Safety or Safety & Health), are open book, and may be taken repeatedly until passed (80% correct to pass).

Source: BCSP

Work Related Fatalities on the Rise – NSC Webinar

The number of fatalities in the US work environment have increased over the past 9 years, and the rate per 100,000 workers has remained flat.  With all of the focus on workplace safety, why is this the case?  

Join the National Safety Council’s Statistics Manager, Ken Kolosh, as he explains the data and trends.  You can sign up for the webinar HERE.

Source: NSC Injury Facts 2017

Safety Walk-Arounds: OSHA Factsheet

Safety Inspections, Safety Walk-Around, Safety Walk-About, GEMBA Walk, Safety Walk… the process goes by many different names.  However, the basis and benefit for conducting these routine safety walks are the same.

OSHA recently released a guidance document, , on conducting effective safety walks that improves hazard recognition and communication about identified hazards with employees.

Why conduct a safety walk?  Two reasons:

  1. Demonstrate management’s commitment to improving safety and health in your facility by identifying and mitigating hazards, and
  2. Allow management the opportunity to see for themselves how the safety and health program is working and it’s effectiveness in identifying and eliminating hazards.

The document provides a brief overview on pre-inspection, inspection, and post-inspection practices that can be applied in virtually every working environment.

Risk Assessment Tool – Video & Infographic


The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work recently produced a video detailing the risk assessment process found in it’s .  The video details the importance of the proper risk assessment procedures and the difficulties often faced by businesses.  4 simple steps are outlined to aid in the risk assessment process and follow a typical PDCA / Deming Wheel process analysis approach:

  1. Prepare
  2. Identify & Evaluate
  3. Set up an Action Plan
  4. Report

Source: EU-OSHA

Training Requirements per the OSHA Standards

Training Requirements in OSHA Standards

Have questions on what training is required for a particular OSHA standard? Look no further.  OSHA has published a resource for all of the OSHA standards.  In this booklet, the training requirements contained in OSHA’s standards are organized into five categories of OSHA standards: General Industry, Maritime, Construction, Agriculture, and Federal Employee Programs. This booklet identifies the training requirements in specific OSHA standards. For information on training techniques and resources for developing training programs, please see Resource for Development and Delivery of Training to Workers. (more…)

Free Safety Toolbox Talks and Resources

Toolbox Safety Talk Resources


Racking your brain trying to think of a topic for tomorrow’s toolbox talk?  Look no further than Gempler’s Safety Training Sheets and you’ll be well on your way.  With a wide range of topics pre-canned, pick the most relevant one, and modify, as needed, to fit your workplace.  Topics include:

  • Ergonomics
  • Respirators
  • Heat Stress
  • Hazard Communication
  • Forklift Safety
  • Confined Spaces
  • PPE
  • Portable Power Tools
  • LOTO
  • Hot Work
  • General Safety
  • …and much more

Source: Gempler’s