Many people believe that JHA and JSA are two different names for the same thing. If you’re up on safety issues, you can probably guess this means:

  1. Breaking a job down into the smaller tasks that make up the job.
  2. Identifying hazards associated with each task.
  3. Ranking the hazards in order of the ones that must be addressed first to ones that can be addressed later (or maybe even not at all).
  4. Designing and implementing controls for the hazards.

Job Hazard Analysis is a tool that safety professionals have used for over 70 years. As early as 1940, there have been analysis systems that considered the actions of workers as they worked and of their machinery.

The early term, Job Analysis (JA), became Job Safety Analysis (JSA), and in recent years, the term Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) came to the forefront.

Even today, many confuse JSA with JHA. JSA has probably been used more than any of these analysis systems, but it only considers three things:

The specific job steps needed to complete the job,

The hazard or hazards involved with each step, and

The safety measures used to avoid the hazard in each step.

JHA adds “risk assessment” to the JSA procedure by including an evaluation of risk (at each step), and by classifying and identifying “probability” and “severity.” And that is the major distinction between JSA and JHA.

“The JHA is used to assess the existing and potential hazards of a job, understand the consequences of risk, and act as an aid in helping identify, eliminate, and control hazards”


What is a job safety analysis (JSA)?
A job safety analysis (JSA) is a safety management technique that focuses on and is used to identify and control the hazards associated with a job or task. JSAs ascertain the hazards existing between the worker and his/her work environment (tools, tasks, place, etc.). The purpose of a JSA is to lower the risk of each step of a job to minimal level to protect worker safety. In conducting and following through with a JSA, companies are able to minimize and/or avoid the costs of injury, lost time, and workers´ compensation claims.

The analysis starts with a summary of the whole job process, which is then broken down into smaller steps. The hazards involved in each step are identified and then the control measures used to eliminate, reduce or mitigate each hazard are identified and described. This means every aspect of the whole process is analyzed and safe methods of work determined.

What is a job hazard analysis (JHA)?
The term JHA can be used interchangeably with JSA. A job hazard analysis (JHA) is the term used by OH&S  for “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. Ideally, after you identify uncontrolled hazards, you will take steps to eliminate or reduce them to an acceptable risk level.”

What is an Activity Hazard Analysis (AHA)?
The term AHA can be used interchangeably with JSA. An activity hazards analysis (AHA) is a term used by Engineers as a “documented process by which the steps (procedures) required to accomplish a work activity are outlined, the actual or potential hazards of each step are identified, and measures for the elimination or control of those hazards are developed.”

What is the difference between a JSA, a JHA, and an AHA?
Nothing! It´s just a terminology difference, but the end result is the same.

Who should conduct a job safety analysis?
Generally, employers, foremen, supervisors, and health and safety professionals conduct job safety analyses. However, employees are also encouraged to use industry standards to analyze their own jobs to recognize and correct workplace hazards before they result in an injury.

Why is job safety analysis important?
Protecting safety and health is critical to your business, your job, and even your life. By systematically looking at your workplace operations, establishing proper job procedures, and ensuring that all employees are trained properly, you can help prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Supervisors can use the findings of a job safety analysis to eliminate and prevent hazards in their work areas. This is likely to result in fewer worker injuries and illnesses; safer, more effective work methods; reduced workers´ compensation costs; and increased worker productivity. The analysis also can be a valuable tool for training new employees in the steps required to perform their jobs safely.

What jobs need a job safety analysis?
Any job can have one, but priority should go to the following types of jobs:

Jobs with the highest injury or illness rates;

Jobs with the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness, even if there is no history of previous accidents;

Jobs in which one simple human error could lead to a severe accident or injury;

Jobs that are new to your operation or have undergone changes in processes and procedures; and

Jobs complex enough to require written instructions.


Risk Assessment may be used in varying degrees of depth and detail using one or many of the Risk Assessment Techniques.

The Job Safety Analysis is the act of getting a group of qualified individuals (supervisors, senior employees, safety personnel) together to:
1. Observe a task being performed.
2. Identify the potential hazards for each step in the task.
3. Assess the risk potential and severity of each hazard.
4. Brainstorm appropriate controls according to the risk levels identified.

JHA is not a one-time event. It can (and probably should) occur simultaneously at a number of different locations.
The JHA development team should then take the information gathered from conducting the Job Hazard Analysis (or Analyses), and write an official Safe Work Procedure. This Safe Work Procedure will in all likelihood be an exact copy of the latest iteration of the JHA. It is the document that should be approved by senior management and circulated among the workers. It is the roadmap for performing a task safely. It remains unchanged until a subsequent JHA (which should be conducted regularly) identifies a new hazard or comes up with a better control.
Once the Safe Work Procedure is in circulation, the JHA record should be filed away for reference and due diligence purposes only. Maintaining and circulating both binders will only lead to confusion, frustration, and inconsistencies.

According some supervisors to this view, the JHA occurs less frequently – maybe every year or at a similar time interval – and the JSA is something that happens at the beginning of every day or every work shift. So, the JHA is the “macro” view and the JSA is the “micro” view of the same basic hazard identification and control issues.

What Difference Does it Make, or Does It Matter?

There we have it – at least three commonly held, yet different, opinions about how the JHA and the JSA are related to one another.