Most accidents in the workplace involve both unsafe conditions, such as inadequate ventilation or improper storage of hazardous materials, and unsafe actions, such as bypassing controls or failing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).  Unsafe acts and conditions lead to progressively more serious injuries and even fatalities. Organizations must work to eliminate both unsafe conditions and unsafe actions in order to bring down these other numbers.  Behavior based safety and JHA (Job Hazard Analysis) go hand in hand, to create awareness of the hazards associated with the job or tasks being performed. 

Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) includes observing employees' behaviors, coaching, and re-focusing behavior so that safer practices are followed. In order for BBS to be effective, organizations must conduct job hazard analyses (JHAs) for each job. JHAs allow employers to eliminate or control as many hazards as possible and to determine proper procedures. By prioritizing JHAs, organizations assure that BBS does not take the place of needed engineering controls and that BBS practices are focused and helpful.

The JHA Process

The JHA investigation team must both include management and employees and supervisors who work on the front lines and understand the job.

The team must:          

  1. Look at incident history (including injuries, near misses, and property damage) and discuss with employees the types of hazards they face.
  2. Conduct observations of each job. While watching each task (or step):
    1. Break down each job into tasks.
    2. Make a list of hazards for each task.
    3. Include the employee doing the task in the analysis.
  3. Brainstorm ways to control each hazard. This might mean:
    1. Redesigning unsafe conditions.
    2. Eliminating situations that cause employees to make unsafe choices.


  • Each employee must be trained in their job’s JHA. 
  • Perform continual safety observations to fine-tune behavior and provide guidance. 
  • Any incident or near miss indicates a problem with the JHA, training, or the safety observations. The problem must be investigated and corrected.

Header Photo by Joe Holland on Unsplash

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