A job hazard analysis, task hazard analysis or a hazard analysis by any other term is a planning tool to identify and address hazards before they occur.


  • Break down the tasks for the work activity.
  • Identify existing and potential hazards associated within those tasks.
  • Establish preventative measures.


  1. Can you eliminate the hazard? Example: A road closure to traffic is a method of hazard elimination.
  2. Can you implement a substitution? Would using a different piece of equipment minimize the hazard? Example: An aerial lift might be safer than using a ladder.
  3. Is there an engineering control that will work? Examples: Implementing excavation protective systems like a trench box or hydraulic shoring or using wet methods to control silica exposure.
  4. What administrative controls can you implement?
    • Training.
    • Developing work procedures.
    • Signage.
  5. What is the correct personal protection equipment for the specific hazard?


Once you’ve identified the preventative measures, make sure you have the correct tools and equipment available.

  • Is a retractable device better suited than a standard 6-foot lanyard for fall protection?
  • Do you have the correct ladder type and height?
  • Do you need a filter or cartridge respirator?
  • Do you need leather, cut-resistant or chemical gloves?


As the project evolves, so does the hazard analysis process. To be effective, revisit and update the initial assessments as needed.

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In 2019, slips, trips, and falls accounted for 28% of the nonfatal work injuries resulting in days away from work in highway, street and bridge construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Human factors contribute to 54% of these slips, trips and falls, while unstable or slippery surfaces accounted for 25% of incidents. Significant factors that contribute to slips, trips and falls include:


Focus on where you’re going and what lies ahead. If you consider that we take thousands of steps a day or get in and out of vehicles and equipment multiple times in a day, all these movements add up to tens of thousands in a week and a million movements in a year. Unfortunately, a one-in-a-million chance for injury is entirely possible.


Focus on what you’re doing. An object that is too heavy or too cumbersome can become a distraction, limiting your focus on your travel path.

  • Take responsibility for fixing, removing or avoiding hazards in your path.
  • Make sure you can see where you are going.
  • Carry only loads that you can see over.


Carrying a heavy object changes our center of mass and our walking pattern. The weight, location and method of carrying an object can impact your balance, especially if your:

  • Stride length shortens.
  • Step height lowers.
  • Center of mass shifts.

All of these subtle changes can impact a person’s normal movement patterns and stability, increasing the potential of a slip, trip or fall.

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OSHA defines a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them”

A misunderstanding about the competent person on a construction site is that he/she is the person having the most knowledge of the work activity being performed or the person who has attended training. This may not always be the case. Completion of a competent person safety course alone does not necessarily establish an individual as a competent person. The course may not adequately provide comprehensive instruction to meet the knowledge requirement for a specific work activity definition.

Below is a partial listing of OSHA standards that require a competent person to perform specific functions:

  • 1926.20(b)(1) – General safety and health provisions.
  • 1926.101 – Hearing protection.
  • 1926.251 – Rigging equipment for material handling.
  • 1926.451 – Scaffolds – General requirements.
  • 1926.452 – Scaffolds – Training requirements.
  • 1926.500 – Fall protection.
  • 1926.502 – Fall protection systems criteria and practices.
  • 1926.503 – Training requirements.
  • 1926.552 – Material hoists, personnel hoists, and elevators.
  • 1926.650 – Excavation.
  • 1926.651 – Specific excavation requirements.
  • 1926.652 – Requirements for protective systems.
  • 1926.753 – Steel erection – hoisting and rigging.
  • 1926.1053 – Ladders.
  • 1926.1400 – Cranes and derricks in construction.

Competent person violations were part of OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited serious violations in construction in 2019.

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Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.