The blog post below, which discusses safety Hazard Assessments, was first published in August of 2014 and is the 4th most popular page on our website. Given it’s popularity, and the importance of the subject, we wanted to briefly update its content.
Make sure to read the full blog post to get a better understanding of the differences between these two assessments, but while doing so keep in mind that while “PPE Assessments” are actually required by OSHA, these assessments only address Personal Protective Equipment, whereas Job Hazard Assessments (aka “JHA’s” or Job Safety Assessments, aka “JSA’s”) are much broader in scope and are also a very effective tool for building a “safety culture” within your company and for injury prevention if used on a consistent basis.
With that said, read on to learn more about these vital safety tools:
Title: Job Hazard Assessment vs. PPE Assessment & Which One is REQUIRED by OSHA
OSHA requires that employers document and certify a “Hazard Assessment” for each job task as part of the The PPE Standard (i.e.: Personal Protective Equipment). Even though this is a very basic requirement of OSHA, few employers actually perform or document these hazard assessment certifications and thus put themselves at risk for significant fines and penalties, not to mention jeopardizing the health and safety of their employees.
But what constitutes a “Hazard Assessment?” Is it a “Job Hazard Analysis” (JHA), or is it a “PPE Assessment?” If you read the PPE Standard, you’ll notice that the language is very vague regarding what constitutes a “Hazard Assessment,” but if you dig deeper into the standard, you’ll find the answer….
The differences between a JHA and PPE Assessment and the requirements and value of each:
Job Hazard Assessment:
A JHA identifies all potential hazards present in a particular job task, and then recommends ALL potential controls to reduce or eliminate those hazards (behavioral, work environment conditions, engineered controls, PPE, etc.).
A primary goal of the JHA is to attempt to eliminate hazards via engineered, behavioral and environmental controls, and if those controls cannot completely eliminate the hazard, then PPE controls must also be put into place as a “last line of defense.”
In sum, JHAs identify all potential hazards associated with each job task, and then take all controls into consideration for eliminating or reducing those hazards.
JHA’s are also a valuable tool for developing safe work practices and procedures, and as a training tool for workers.
It is critical to note that OSHA DOES NOT have a specific requirement that employers document JHA’s , and instead only states that a JHA is “one component of the larger commitment of a safety and health management system.” Even though JHA’s aren’t required, OSHA believes that JHAs are a “best practice” and should always be included as part of a company’s health and safety program.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Assessment:
A PPE Assessment, on the other hand, is a narrower tool for identifying and controlling hazards. Just like the JHA, it identifies all potential hazards associated with each job task, but only considers Personal Protective Equipment as a means of controlling those hazards (and not engineered, behavioral or other such controls as in the JHA).
So Which One Of These Assessments Does OSHA Consider a “Hazard Assessment?”
OSHA’s PPE standard actually states a specific requirement that a “hazard assessment” is completed and documented for each job task. Although the term “hazard assessment” is vague, and doesn’t specify “JHA” or “PPE Assessment,” OSHA regulations state the following::
- When the walk-through is complete, the employer should organize and analyze the data so that it may be efficiently used in determining the proper types of PPE required at the worksite. The employer should become aware of the different types of PPE available and the levels of protection offered.
(NOTE THAT THIS PARAGRAPH ONLY MENTIONS PPE, AND SAYS NOTHING ABOUT OTHER TYPES OF CONTROLS, SUCH AS ENGINEERED, BEHAVIORAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, ETC.)
OSHA goes on to say the following regarding how to document this assessment:
- Documentation of the hazard assessment is required through a written certification that includes the following information:
- Identification of the workplace evaluated;
- Name of the person conducting the assessment;
- Date of the assessment; and
- Identification of the document certifying completion of the hazard assessment.
Based upon this information, it is clear that OSHA’s PPE standard defines a “Hazard Assessment” as a PPE Assessment/Certification, which again only includes Personal Protective Equipment selection & use (and not other potential controls).
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