This is a guest blog post by Michael Draper of WindowCleanerSafety.com and the American Window Cleaner Magazine. The views, opinions, and positions expressed within this guest posts are those of the author. abc is not affiliated with WindowCleanerSafety.com and has not been paid to publish this post.
A Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is a tool used by an employer to predetermine job site hazards that may exist. This information is then explained to employees that will be working on the site so that a joint effort to prevent accidents occurs. OSHA has spent much time developing criteria even publishing a brochure on the use and its really no wonder because if used properly it satisfies the three criteria that OSHA uses for employers- Plan, Provide, Train.
The JHA definitely satisfies the planning stages. As mentioned above the employer has predetermined the hazards associated with the job site. However, it goes further than that. Not only are the hazards predetermined, but the thought is given to how the hazards will be dealt with using a hierarchy of control measures. Most applicable for service companies that are mobile are elimination or minimization. It is always best when considering a hazard to eliminate the hazard if possible, but with the types of work window cleaners sometimes do it is not possible, so we would move to minimize the risk. An example of this would be a second-story window that needs to be cleaned. If we normally work with a ladder, it has automatic hazards associated with it. Could we eliminate the hazard that does not use it at all? Possibly, maybe the work would allow for a water-fed pole? If not or user chooses not to utilize that tool a person would have to look at the hazards associated with a ladder and try and minimize the risks. One such hazard is an unstable base so we would minimize that hazard by using a ladder that had leg levelers on it. So, where we can we eliminate and when we can’t we minimize.
This is the second step in the OSHA process, and once again the JHA covers this for us. It simply means that the employer provides the necessary equipment set out in the JHA. With the above example, if the employer deemed that a ladder was going to be utilized and the hazard was an unstable base, the employer would provide a ladder with the leg levelers mentioned above.
You might wonder how the JHA would train someone? Well, it won’t. However, it will expose training needs. Let’s say the JHA identified the ladder as the hazard, again mentioned above, and then you as employer provided the ladder with leg levelers. The last phase is you would look and see who was going to perform the task. What if the one assigned has never set a ladder before or know how to work leg levelers? That’s where the training would need to take place before the work would begin.
One of the main issues with the process is that to properly fill out a JHA, one has to be familiar with the hazards and specifically with any OSHA regulations that might exist. After teaching many safety classes, we became aware that this was a challenge to the average company. That is why the JHA Safety App was developed and released on the app stores of both Apple and Android users. The App was designed for window cleaners and pressure washers and has identified the main hazards that exist on most mobile contractor job sites. There is even a place to write additional hazards if something unexpected comes up. The App was written based on criteria given by OSHA 1910 General Industry Standard. A person can create a professional-looking JHA in about a minute, and it’s a wonderful sales tool to include with your estimate showing that your company takes safety very serious for both your sake and the customers. Once created, it can be emailed, printed, texted, or even sent to your CRM program for future use.
At the end of the day, whether you write out a JHA or use the JHA Safety App, the JHA process provides protection for employers. One example of such was a contractor in Texas where an employee fell from a ladder and was hospitalized. During the OSHA investigation, the JHA that was used showed that the employee was given direction on how to properly set the ladder and how the ladder was to be secured at the top. The employee decided not to heed the JHA instructions. Now other things were involved as well, but OSHA did not fine the employer as it was deemed that the employer had gone through the process of Plan, Provide, Train and that the employee failed to follow that guidance. What protection to the employer!
For more information on JHA’s please visit WindowCleanerSafety.com or download the JHA Safety App in your app store.