A common question we get here at Mango is what is the difference between a Job Safety Analysis (JSA), a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA), a Safe Work Procedure (SWP), a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or a Risk Assessment Method Statement (RAMS)?
In this blog, with help from safety experts Laurie O'Donoghue from Total Management and Training and Chris Docherty from FQM Limited, we attempt to answer this tricky question.
What is a Job Safety Analysis (JSA)?
A Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur.
It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment.
It is an analysis of hazards and risk potential when a job or task is to be undertaken.
The terms "job" and "task" are commonly used interchangeably to mean a specific work assignment or activity, such as:
- "operating a grinder"
- "using a ride on lawn mower"
- "changing a flat tyre."
JSAs are not suitable for jobs defined too broadly, for example, "overhauling an excavator"; or too narrowly, for example, "positioning car jack."
The framework or process for the development of a JSA include the following:
- Determine the job or task to be analysed
- Break the job down into an orderly sequence of steps
- Determine the potential hazards at each step
- Determine recommended controls for each hazard applying the hierarchy of risk control. In determining controls consideration should be given to both short and long term controls. Controls may include:
- Minimum requirements as detailed in legislation, if applicable.
- Controls which involve changes to the work environment, tools or the work process
- Controls which can be implemented immediately
- Controls which are to be included in an action plan for further action in the future
- Controls which would be included in a Standard Work Procedure
Other information which may be included in a JSA includes:
- Risk Rating - In some instances organisations include a risk rating for each hazard, both for the raw risk (before implementation of a control) and residual risk (after implementation of a control)
- Responsible Person – another item that is often added to a JSA form or worksheet is the Responsible Person. The Responsible Person is for the name of the individual who will implement the particular control.
What is a Job Hazard Analysis (JSA)
A Job Safety Analysis is also known as a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). Where environmental risks are also considered it may be referred to as a Job Safety & Environmental Analysis (JSEA).
What is a Standard Work Procedure (SWP)
Standard Work Procedures (SWP) are written instructions for tasks which outline the preferred and safest method of undertaking a task while also achieving efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance.
SWP’s should be developed for all techniques, processes, equipment and machinery where there is a risk to health and safety.
A standard work procedure may consist of more than one specific job or task. In such cases, each separate job or task should be analysed by completing a JSA. The final version of the correct work procedure should be presented in a narrative style format which outlines the correct way to do the job or task in a step-by-step outline.
A standard work procedure should include:
- specific information regarding the hazards and associated risks of the task. This information can be provided collectively in the document, rather than detailed against each step.
- competencies required to perform the task, if applicable (e.g. licences, training)
- precautions to be undertaken before commencing the task
- personal protective equipment to be worn while undertaking the task
- the environment where the task should be undertaken
- clear instructions for undertaking the job or task described in an efficient and safe manner and providing specific instructions regarding ways of minimising the risks of the job or task.
Inclusion of photographs assists in the provision of clear instructions
- instructions to ensure that the area, plant equipment is left safe for others to use
- correct waste disposal guidelines
The manufacturer's user manual provided with the equipment/machinery should be consulted for safety information to include in standard work procedures.
What is a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or Safe Operating Procedure (SOP)?
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are similar to SWP’s however generally have a focus on the operation of plant, equipment and machinery.
Safe Operating Procedures, (also abbreviated to SOP) are also similar to standard work procedures, with the focus being on outlining the preferred and safest method of undertaking a task.
The first step in the preparation of a SWP or SOP is the completion of a JSA, as outlined above. Based on the controls defined in the JSA a SWP can be prepared.
What is a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)?
A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a document that sets out the high risk construction work activities to be carried out at a workplace, the hazards arising from these activities and the measures to be put in place to control the risks.
The preparation of a SWMS is a legislative requirement in Australian jurisdictions for high risk construction work activities.
Note: SWMS is also referred to as a Work Method Statement (WMS) which was the term used in superseded Australian legislation.
The term SWMS and WMS have been adopted in many organisations as a document which addresses all job and tasks carried out at a workplace, the hazards arising from these activities and measures to be put in place to control the risks.
The SWMS is basically a combination of a JSA and a SWP which addresses the work process only. It would not include controls which cannot be implemented for current performance of the job or task (e.g. Controls which are to be included in an action plan for further action in the future)
SWMS for High Risk Construction Work
Legislation requires that a SWMS for high risk construction work must
- identify the work that is high risk construction work
- specify hazards relating to the high risk construction work and risks to health and safety associated with those hazards
- describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks, and
- describe how the control measures are to be implemented, monitored and reviewed.
The Code of Practice for Construction Work suggests that a SWMS may also include:
- the name of the principal contractor
- the address where the high risk construction work will be carried out
- the date the SWMS was prepared and the date it was provided to the principal contractor
- the review date (if any).
Additional information a Principal Contractor (or other PCBU) may include and require from subcontractors:
- Persons who participated in development of SWMS
- Management name and position who approved the SWMS
- Details of how changes to the SWMS is to be communicated to workers
- Legislation, codes or practice or standards applicable to the SWMS
- Risk rating for each step, hazard or risk both before and after application of controls
- Hazardous chemicals
- Maintenance checks
- How health issues are to be managed (e.g. manual handling, heat stress)
- Emergency procedures
SWMS for all work activities
Where a SWMS or WMS is being prepared for all work it should, at a minimum include:
- Details of the work
Specify hazards relating to the work risks to health and safety associated with those hazards
- Describe the measures to be implemented to control the risks.
The remaining information should reflect that detailed above in JSA and SWP.
What is a RAMS?
Risk Assessment Method Statements (RAMS) are documents that companies create after the completion of a risk assessment.
RAMS contains details of the hazard and a step-by-step guide to working around that hazard that all employees, contractors and others can easily follow.
RAMS are not a requirement by Law, but are a very good method of proving a safe system of work, or a safe work method (some industries refer to them as this).
The Law requires a risk assessment and hazard control methods, plus ensuring that employees are trained and competent to undertake the work while understanding the hazards and risk control methods.
There are numerous (too many to list) names and acronyms used to describe documents which reflect the purpose and use of JSA’s, SWP’s, SWMS and RAMS.
What should be considered is not the name of the document, but what it addresses. This ensures that a job or task is carried out in a way that eliminates or minimises risks to the worker.
Whatever the name of the document, it must as a minimum include:
- Details of the job or task
- Orderly sequence of steps for completion of the job or task
- Determination and analysis of the potential hazards at each step
- Recommended controls for each step / hazard applying the hierarchy of risk control. In determining controls consideration should be given to both short and long term controls.
Where there is legislative requirements (e.g. SWMS contents) then these must be included.
Other items which may be included are detailed in the above explanations for JSA, SWP, SWMS and RAMS.
Finally the document should be set out and expressed in a way that is readily understandable by the workers that are required to use it.