A Job Hazard Analysis, or JHA, is the analysis of a job and its component tasks, the hazards associated with those tasks, and the preventative measures required to minimize those hazards. Typically, a JHA will also include a Risk Assessment, a professional assessment to determine the severity and likelihood of any risks associated with the job/component tasks. These Risk Assessments rely on a combination of the experience of the safety official, as well as any internal or legally governing guidelines to assess – often by law – the overall seriousness, severity, and probably of a risk. Given the risks associated with COVID-19 in the workplace, this global pandemic has, of course, impacted how we conduct JHA’s and assess risk. Here are a few things to consider:
- Assess the physical aspects of the job – this is where exposure to COVID-19 occurs. Are all physical aspects completely necessary for the job? Is there a task, or tasks, that can be done remotely? Removing the physical presence of your employees may be all you need to eliminate the risk of infection.
- It’s easy to narrow your focus on figuring out how to minimize the risks of the most frequently completed tasks, but the exposure to COVID-19 can happen in a single occurrence, and come from somewhere you may not expect. Make sure you address those non-routine jobs within your organization (and the outside people you bring in to do them such as maintenance, repairs, cleaning, auditing, etc.). You must minimize outside exposure to reduce the risk of infection.
- A Risk Assessment may include a component where historical records are reviewed and analyzed to determine the best procedures to reduce or prevent risk. The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it hard to know what data is even relevant to the current situation. Re-evaluate your assessment processes and re-imagine your approach to safety – now is the time to innovate your approach to safety, because now we must.
- Consider who within your organization is most at risk. Health authorities are telling us that elderly people are most at risk of experiencing harsher symptoms from COVID-19. Find a way to protect the workers who need protection.
- Talk to workers – know their fears. The psychological effects of a global pandemic can induce stress, fear, uncertainty – all of which affect your employees’ mental health and their ability to make safe decisions and focus on the hazards at hand. Influencing the safety environment of your organization has an impact on the behaviors of your employees.
For more on how to assess your preparedness for COVID-19 and future pandemics, check out our COVID-19 Crisis/Pandemic Preparedness Checklist for Business here.
For more on how to manage your business during the COVID-19 (and other) pandemic(s), check out our COVID-19 Crisis/Pandemic Outbreak Management and Response Checklist here.