A proven HSE management icon, JSAs take simple approach to keep tasks from becoming routine

Posted on 02 November 2009

By Steve M. Olson, Nabors Well Services, and Mark Boben, JES & Associates

Regardless of how many times a job is performed, it should never be considered “routine.” When a job becomes “routine,” the potential for negative consequences can become reality.

The rig industry has always faced difficult and complex challenges concerning the health and safety management of its workforce. It used to be common to view rigs as hazardous places to work. However, the industry has responded by developing and implementing effective and highly successful safety and health management tools. Consequently, it is now not uncommon to find individual rigs or even fleets of rigs that operate completely incident-free for extended periods of time.

The job safety analysis (JSA), an administrative control, has proven to be an immensely effective tool to deal with the broad spectrum of safety and health hazards that exist within the industry. Its use has raised the JSA to the level of being the industry safety and health management icon.

Known and used in all industry sectors throughout the world, the JSA is widely accepted and has become a part of the oil and gas industry’s common language. Employees from the industry’s vast employer ranks understand and use this tool and can “speak JSA.” Frequently and routinely, employees representing multiple employers meet and conduct JSA sessions in a harmonious manner.

The JSA is a relatively simple safety and health management tool and should not be overly complicated. They can be created and managed in a variety of media, including hard copy, electronic and video.

A good starting point for JSA development can be the use of a critical task analysis worksheet. This can help determine which jobs are worthy of a JSA and which ones are not. Once a job is selected for JSA development, analysis of its tasks can be performed. The use of a JSA checklist, such as one seen on Page 76, can aid in making a thorough review.

 Crew members hold a JSA meeting on NDUSA Rig 413 in Wyoming. The JSA is a relatively simple tool that has proven effective in reducing workplace injuries. Its simple approach to identifying and subsequently eliminating and mitigating hazards has added to its attractiveness and worldwide acceptance.

Once the potential hazards have been identified for each task, controls/safeguards can be established to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with them.

The importance of identifying and evaluating changes in the ways workers prepare and perform job tasks cannot be overstated. Conventional oil and gas industry wisdom supports the idea that change in the workplace is a major factor that contributes to a high percentage of accidents.

The JSA is an integrated part of planning a job. A job can be divided into tasks. For each task, hazards can be identified and effective risk-reducing measures implemented. Measures that eliminate or reduce the probability of a hazard occurring should be prioritized over measures that reduce the consequences of the hazard.

It is vital to be thorough in developing job inventories. They should reflect all the jobs workers do on a routine basis, including preventive maintenance. However, consideration should also be given to non-routine jobs that could pose a major threat to people, property and process.

To identify loss exposures and critical jobs, the following process is recommended:

• Compile an inventory of all jobs by workplace.
• Identify critical jobs.
• Analyze critical jobs.
• Develop controls.
• Implement controls.

The following steps should be followed when preparing a JSA:

Step 1: JSA team should inspect the workplace and the equipment involved and discuss the work plan using a Critical Task Analysis Worksheet.
Step 2: Describe the job briefly on the JSA form, such as the one on pictured below.
Step 3: Divide the job into tasks.
Step 4: Use what is to be performed when describing the tasks, e.g. take, remove, open, etc.
Step 5: For every task, identify hazards for people, property and process.
Step 6: Identify risk-reducing measures that eliminate or reduce the identified hazards to an acceptable level and list these on the JSA form.
Step 7: Define the responsible person for implementation of each risk-reducing measure.
Step 8: Upon completion of the JSA (all tasks analyzed), review the JSA checklist as a quality assurance measure.
Step 9: Complete the JSA form.

Consider the following four elements when identifying potential loss exposures:


• What contacts are present that could cause injury, illness, stress or strain?
• Could a worker be caught in, on or between? Struck by? Fall from? Fall into?
• What practices are likely to downgrade safety, health, the environment, productivity or quality?


• What hazards are presented by the tools, machines, vehicles or other equipment?
• What emergencies are most likely to occur?
• How might the equipment affect health, safety, property or the process?


• What harmful exposures are presented by chemicals, raw materials or products?
• What are the specific problems involving materials handling?
• How might materials affect health, safety, property or the process?


• What are the potential problems of housekeeping?
• What are the potential problems of sound, lighting, heat, cold, ventilation or radiation?
• Is there anything in the area that would be seriously affected if there are problems with the task?

Control actions to eliminate or reduce the risk should be identified. Actions to be considered include the following:

Engineering controls

• Elimination of the hazard altogether.
• Substitution of a less hazardous process/substance.
• Isolation or enclosure.
• Local exhaust or general ventilation.
• Wetting down or shielding.
• Shock or vibration mountings.
• Machinery or workplace redesign.

Work practices

• Specific task work instructions.
• Education/awareness training.
• Good housekeeping/proper storage/labeling.
• Personal hygiene.
• Policy compliance/enforcement.

All tasks identified as high risks or critical should require written work instructions. Some medium risks may also require written work instructions.

Administrative controls

• Planning of work to minimize exposure to hazard/risk monitoring of exposures.

Personal protective equipment

• Personal protective equipment is very often required but should not be considered as the first option to protect against hazards. It should be used as a last resort.
• Add controls to the Critical Task Analysis Worksheet.

The JSA has proven to be a valuable tool in the reduction of oil and gas industry workplace injuries and illnesses. Its simple approach to identifying and subsequently eliminating and mitigating hazards has added to its attractiveness and worldwide acceptance. It truly has been established as an industrywide safety and health management icon.

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