Examining Job Hazard Analysis Effectiveness – Baldrige Style

by Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer and Systems Guy, Great Systems

For over 20 years now, I have had the pleasure to serve as a Baldrige Performance Excellence award Examiner. Plus, I have taught over 425 TapRooT® root cause analysis courses over the past seventeen-plus years. Combined, these experiences help me better understand how Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) tool use helps safeguard a process’s customers against potential human errors and the resultant non-conformances. This post looks at how one national Baldrige Examiner might evaluate job hazard analysis effectiveness.

As Baldrige Examiners, we are taught to analyze a work process from four perspectives. These four perspectives are approach, deployment, learning, and integration. Plus, we look at the results that process, or a set of processes produces. In this post on effective safeguard design, I take a look at how an Examiner would evaluate the JHA (or Job Safety Analysis to some) safeguard from these four perspectives.

LEARN MORE: Workplace Safety Best Practices

Evaluating HOW the Job Hazard Analysis is Used

The best JHA designs identify the hazards associated with each step of a task. Plus, they list the actions to take for hazard mitigation relative to each step. Not all safety groups build their JHAs in this manner. For example, many companies simply apply a set of general work rules across all jobs. This lack of step-by-step specificity naturally increases the potential error rate for a given task’s performance.

Examiners view a given process along a maturity spectrum. Below, you will see a maturity spectrum for the Job Hazard Analysis safeguard. On the left end of the spectrum, you will find weaker safeguard designs. As you move towards the right end of the spectrum, the design of the JHA becomes more robust. A process of this nature serves a powerful role in preventing potential errors. Where do your company’s JHAs or JSAs fall on this spectrum?

EXPLORE MORE: How Great are Your Work Systems?

Evaluating Job Hazard Analysis Deployment

From the Baldrige Examiner perspective, deployment looks at the degree that all of the workgroups use a given process that would benefit from its use. For example, what percentage of your workgroups uses task-specific JHAs on a daily basis? As the deployment percentage increases, the error rate should fall, IF the safeguard is effective. We have two key questions here. First, how well-deployed is the safeguard? Second, how effective is that safeguard?

In my post on work system deployment gaps, the table shows JHA performance for four different workgroups. Icon use reflects the relative degree of deployment for each safeguard across each workgroup. Note that there is a column for the JHA safeguard. Use of such a table may create peer pressure to improve. Is that a bad thing in this case? Plus, the table gives you a quick look at the variety of deployment levels for your different safeguards.

How Do You Improve JSA Design and Use Over Time?

How often do you review and improve your JHA approach? Can you list the key improvements – the cycles of refinement – that have come from past JHA reviews? Can you simply list one improvement that has been made to your JHA process each year? Too few companies evaluate their processes each year (let alone more frequently). Instead, they simply put the approach in place. Then, they live with the original design for years.

Examiners expect to see evidence of consistent improvement when we evaluate a given work process. The best organizations can easily produce lists of improvements made by year for each process. Some organizations simply hold an improvement day each year. At this event, all team members get together to review the key work processes they own. Then, each work team identifies and prioritizes potential process enhancements.

DISCOVER MORE: Measuring and Evaluating Safeguard Effectiveness

Evaluating Job Hazard Analysis Integration

Integration is often one of the hardest process attributes to describe. With the Job Hazard Analysis tool, one would expect to see integration between this tool and other work processes. For example, the JHA should link with the organization’s procedure development processes, its training processes, and its risk assessment processes. Additionally, linkages should exist between JHA use and work team leader development efforts.

For example, one would expect the left hand column – the task steps column – to be consistent with the work instructions for the work. The training curriculum for JHA users should reflect education relative to JHA design and use in the workplace.

The hazards and mitigation columns should reflect choices that are consistent with the organization’s risk assessment protocols. Finally, one would expect to see the types of leader development activities that link to Job Hazard Analysis use.

In short, these different processes all integrate with each other. Take a look at each area as you evaluate job hazard analysis effectiveness. Changes you make to one process affects the others in some form or fashion.

LEARN MORE: Process Improvement Strategies

Processes mature over time in high performance organizations. Each year, we make efforts to improve process effectiveness. This includes the safeguards we use to minimize human error and equipment problems. How effective are your safeguards? Could you benefit by an analysis of your safeguards from a Baldrige Examiner’s perspective?

Keep improving! – Kevin McManus, Chief Excellence Officer and Systems Guy, Great Systems

Please email your questions to me at kevin@greatsystems.com

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