The Importance of JSAs

In this article, we introduce the topic of Job Safety Analysis (JSA) - an important, necessary and often obligatory process used for documenting hazards on a work site and protecting workers from harm. We’ll talk about the essential information needed in a JSA, what kinds of a questions to ask, and how it should look when complete. We also offer some advice on best practices, and reflect on software that promises to help make the process easier.

What is a JSA?

A JSA is a procedure for identifying, mitigating and documenting hazards on a work site. Though it does have applications in a number of other industries, it has a major presence in construction. Many firms, public and private, have developed their own JSA policies to protect their employees from harm, shield themselves from liability and ensure compliance with OSHA standards. As a critical process in construction, an extremely knowledgeable person, often the frontline supervisor or foreman should take charge of JSAs.

The technique has several main components, starting first with identifying a job, breaking it down into tasks and steps, and then identifying the potential hazards that can occur related to each task. The last component of a JSA is to identify steps to mitigate the potential hazards. Below are some specifics about each component.

5 Strategies to Improve Job Safety in the Field

Identifying the job

Identifying the right jobs to include in your JSA requires asking the right questions about your worksite. Start with dividing jobs up into different categories. One category can be called the “high incidence” category, in which you would create a hierarchy of scenarios that range from jobs causing the most injuries to the least. Look for some data or reports on this to help find out what those are.

The next category involves using your imagination to think about tasks that have the most potential to cause severe injury. You could call this category the jobs that are “most injurious”, which may or may not have occurred in your organization at some point. Regardless of actual incidence, an injury that potentially causes severe damage or even death to a person is essential to prepare for.  

Other categories are based on human interaction with work. One can be called the “human error” category which includes tasks that are high-touch, and as a result may be more prone to human error. Another is related to tasks that are new to the job site which people there might still be learning. Lastly, any task that seems complicated enough that it could benefit from documentation, should also be included.

After you’ve assembled your list of tasks, review them to make sure that they are appropropriate to include as part of your JSA. An inappropriate task may be something that is too overly complex and that can’t be broken down into simple terms. A task of that kind may actually need to be reconsidered and broken apart into several tasks.

Break it down

After you’ve identified the tasks to include in your JSA, each one needs to get broken down into logical, but easy to understand steps. This may require observation, going around the job site and watching how things get done.

Once steps have been broken out, it’s time to identify the hazards that are possible per step or task. It’s important for a competent person who knows a lot about your projects and processes to handle this because there are a lot of questions to consider. What is the environment around which a hazard can occur? Who does the hazard affect? What is the cause of the hazard and what are the results of the hazard? There may also be other factors that aren’t directly connected. Consider other potential factors that could have some kind of effect.


The last part of your JSA is mitigation. You have already identified each hazard possible in each step of a job. Now each hazard must be taken and paired with the mitigation for preventing the hazard. This last step helps to plan out from the start what people will do when they encounter a hazard so that there is no question about the proper course of action. This process will protect your employees and your company from potentially disastrous occurrences.

Applying technology to prevent injuries

As you’ve seen in the above process, there is lot of work that can go into preparing a JSA. The right applied technology can be an extremely helpful component to properly completing your JSAs and preventing injuries by improving your frontline supervisor's hazard awareness and crew-level injury prevention communication skills. It can be used to educate the crafts as to the various risks associated with specific work tasks and ensures proper mitigation measures are implemented.

Software like Trestles Labor Management System can make the Job Safety Analysis process and implementation of hazard mitigation more effecient and effective by removing the guess work, automatically linking identified hazards with mitigation efforts. The JSA is embedded within the planning process and provides visibility for management and safety professionals, ensuring compliance, providing coaching opportunites and keeping records with crew/attendee signatures for accident investigation. If in the midst of planning a job you encounter a hazard, you can easily prepare or modify a JSA, assigning the identified hazard and mitigation measure from a standard database.



Automating your JSA process with technology creates documentation that is easily searchable, customizable and accessible. It’s difficult to imagine JSAs being done solely on paper; the stacks would be immense.

Important results for your company

JSAs are important on any job site for helping maintain the health of your staff and the wealth of your organization. Workers compensation claims can be significantly reduced by performing JSAs on all the possibly hazardous work that your organization does. Productivity can also be improved by making sure that all workers have a general knowledge of safety. Another great aspect is the openness and clarity that it creates in your company in dealing with issues, to keep your staff safe, healthy and informed.