JSA Planning with a Purpose

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Battling complacency is an everyday challenge for safe work behavior. Today, we will talk about pre-task planning with a purpose.

Lazily filling out a JSA is a wasted opportunity to establish what work is to be done and how it should look. Instead of just chatting about the work to be done and maybe discussing some hazards to look out for and certain tools or PPE to use, the job brief can be transformed into a proactive “stop work.” The goal is to establish what the task should look like and preemptively call for crew members to call for a stop if there is a violation of this expectation.

Making “stop work” part of the JSA process is relatively simple. When a foreman or supervisor is conducting their JSA, job brief, tailgate, tailboard, or whatever your company may call it, end the discussion with the crew by asking what conditions or situations in the upcoming task warrant a call to “stop work.” The best practice would then be to have a spot on the JSA form to prompt this discussion and record the information.

This “stop work” practice is not just a safety tool – it also extends to quality and operations. If some part of a task isn’t going as expected – a gear isn’t sliding onto a shaft, for example – then that violation of expectation indicates there is some sort of problem. Taken to the extreme, you could have a detailed step-by-step procedure for a task. However, the application of this stop work is designed more for those tasks that inherently have a high degree of variability, such as pipeline construction work.

Making “stop work” a prevention tool through this concept of violation of expectation is not only simple but profound. The effects can take many forms including:

  1. Engagement of workers of all experience levels and passing information from experienced to less-experienced workers – This is what to look for and what to expect. New workers being empowered to participate will also help battle complacency in your experienced workers when the “old hand” coaches the “greenhorns.”
  2. Sets agreement between all workers and management that “stop work” is allowed and encouraged for the right reasons (not to slow down work). But…What a way to foster a culture of safety engagement.
  3. By making a focus on when “stop work” is to be called as part of the JSA meeting, your workers will identify problems with some of the other safety systems and training. You better act on issues identified as these are gifts from your workers.

By setting what is normal and expected – getting a shared picture of how a task should occur in the minds of the crew – we are setting the background for the “violation of expectation” to pull attention to those things which should be identified before an incident happens.

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