Safetip #126: Job Safety Analysis to Select PPE
Two Different Approaches to Select PPE
A Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guide from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) highlights two options for conducting hazard assessments that lead to the selection of PPE. The first is a hazard assessment of PPE that involves a walkthrough survey, followed by hazard identification and the determination of control measures, including PPE.
However, a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) / Job Safety Analysis (JSA) approach to conducting a hazard assessment for PPE is a more comprehensive method and may be more useful in larger organizations with many hazards and/or complex safety issues, the guide says. A JHA/JSA breaks down a job into its basic steps. It then identifies hazards for each step and determines measures to either eliminate the hazards or mitigate the risks caused by the hazards.
5 Steps for Using JHA/JSA to Select PPE
The PPE Guide by the Washington State Department of L&I provides instructions composed of the following 5 steps to conduct a hazard assessment that leads to the selection of PPE:
1) Do a walkthrough survey and Identify sources of hazards
Walk through each area of the workplace and note the presence of hazards. Also, note general conditions in the area for hazards such as inadequate lighting, noise, tripping hazards, forklift traffic, etc. Make note of each hazard, where it occurs, what causes it, and the body part at risk, which you can use to assess your PPE needs. Gather all the information you can.
- Look at all steps of a job and ask employees if there are any variations in the job that are infrequently done and that you might have missed during your observation.
- For purposes of the assessment, assume that no PPE is being worn by the affected employees even though they may actually be wearing what they need to do the job safely.
- Note all observed hazards. Noisy environments or those which may require respirators must be evaluated with appropriate test equipment to quantify the exposure level when overexposure is suspected.
2) Analyze the hazard
For each job task with a hazard identified, rate the severity of the injury or illness that would reasonably be expected from exposure to the hazard, and rate the likelihood of an accident actually happening. Assign a risk code and priority based on the severity and the likelihood ratings.
3) Take action on the assessment
Depending on the assigned risk priority, do one of the following for each hazard:
- Take no further action.
- Select and implement appropriate controls.
- Immediately stop the task step until appropriate controls can be implemented.
4) Select PPE
Try to reduce employee exposure by first implementing effective controls that do not primarily rely on individual employee behavior (such as using PPE). Follow the Hierarchy of Controls.
- For each hazard you identified, ask the question: “Can we change the way this job is done to eliminate or reduce this hazard?” Ideas might include combining steps, changing the sequence, a different tool, a change in the workstation, ventilation, etc. The employees who do this job may have some good practical ideas.
- If none of these will work, what PPE is needed? If PPE is needed, it must be appropriately matched to the hazard to provide effective protection against the hazard.
5) Certify the hazard assessment
Certify that you have done the hazard assessment and implemented the needed controls. Incorporate any new PPE requirements that you have developed into your safety program.
Finally, the entire process of conducting a JHA/JSA to select PPE can be greatly facilitated by using Job Safety Analysis (JSA) / Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) software to manage all the steps, streamline analysis time, and share all JHAs/JSAs across the organization.
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