Every job has its hazards, but agriculture consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous occupations. One way to improve farm safety for yourself and your employees is to review workplace hazards and potential injuries that could occur.
Creating a job safety analysis or job hazard analysis provides a written protocol for hazardous jobs and tasks and a safe step-by-step way to handle them. An effective analysis identifies hazards and the workers who will be completing a task, provides a basis for training workers, increases safety and awareness, and decreases injuries on the job.
1Select the job
Develop an analysis for all jobs and tasks, but give priority to jobs in which workers have been injured or have a greater risk of injury. When a new job is introduced at your farm, complete a job safety analysis and use the document to train your workers on safe operating procedures.
2Break it down
Break the job or task down into easy-to-follow steps. Identify what is done, not how it is done. Include four to nine steps in the description and make sure steps are not too detailed nor too general. If the task requires more than 10 steps, consider breaking up the task.
If you are not sure how to break down the steps in a specific job, observe a worker performing the job and consult multiple people who are familiar with the job. Ask workers to write out the steps they take to complete a job. Take note of unsafe shortcuts, necessary equipment maintenance and the physical space where the job takes place.
As you write out each step, note potential hazards and any actions or conditions in each step of the job that could lead to injury. Is the worker at risk for a slip, trip or fall? Is the worker exposed to fumes or dust? Do the equipment or tools used to complete the job pose any risk of injury? Will there be heavy lifting involved or will the worker be exposed to excessive noise or vibration? Are workers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)?
Determine ways to eliminate, control or minimize hazards. Modify the process, change the equipment or improve the environmental conditions. If you can’t eliminate the hazard, look for ways to minimize the workers’ exposure to the risk including using enclosures, guards, shields or designated work areas.
Provide a recommended action for each step and state specifically how the step should be completed. For example, phrase a step as follows: “When lifting a box from the floor to the counter, use your leg muscles to accomplish the lift.” Identify PPE, hand signals, and any additional safety recommendations, such as lockout procedures, for each step.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the analysis after an injury or illness occurs as a result of executing a job or task. Review the causes of injury or illness and make adjustments to the procedure or add additional safety measures. When you introduce new equipment, processes, or materials or make environmental changes, modify or update the job safety analysis. Review any changes to ensure everyone understands.
Sources: Job safety analysis. (2013) Farm and Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice. Retrieved from articles.extension.org/pages/
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