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Hi, I'm Jill, Chief Safety Officer with Vivid Learning Systems. I'm a former OSHA inspector, and I'm here to help you identify and correct workplace safety hazards. For this series, we're at Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in the heart of the Upper Midwest to show you, no matter where you work, safety training is for everyone.
Today we have the pleasure of being with Brandy, the Safety Director here at the Beet Sugar Cooperative, and we're here to talk about JSAs or job safety analysis. And to start, Brandy, could we talk about the different types of jobs your employees do here? What are the different job titles and some job responsibilities, so people get an idea of the type of work activity that happens in a beet sugar processing facility.
Sure. Well, we have the administrative staff. We obviously have quite a few folks in our union environment, which is about 350 employees. Within that group, we have about 72, 75 different positions. Some of the jobs that people might be doing are like loading a rail car, driving a locomotive train. We might have people boiling sugar, running a control room. And then, of course, all the mechanical components. We have a heavy equipment machinist, lots of different mechanical components, folks that respond to spills or pumps or chemicals coming onsite.
Or they might be going into a confined space to do their work.
You have a water treatment facility on-scene. It's kind of like its own little city of everything that you might find in a city.
Absolutely, labs. We have people running lab tests. There's a lot of different roles here, each of which we need to provide training to, and our JSA process helps with that.
And why did you select JSAs? What does JSA mean to you here at this work environment? Can you describe that?
So our job safety analysis program first starts out focusing on those jobs that are either entry-level positions or have high turnover, right? So something that's new for employees. Or they're jobs that are really high-risk, so we want to provide very detailed training associated with it.
Our JSAs start out by looking at the steps it takes to complete a task, so a lot of times it's the repetitive tasks in that position. Each step is identified, and once we go through that process, then we look across, and we say, "Okay, what are the hazards associated with each step?" And in identifying that, we can further analyze to go, "What can we do to protect against that hazard?"
Basically, that's how we develop our job safety analysis. First, define the steps. Second, define the hazards. Third, how can you protect against them?
Did you get other people involved when you were building your JSAs? Did you have like a team of people that you assembled to work on this?
It's been a lengthy journey, and it hasn't stopped yet. It seems like it just continues on, but we traditionally will partner with our employees on the floor. They know their job best, and they certainly know what the hazards are. By working directly with them, we get a lot of information.
We have four shifts is the other piece, so in doing a JSA or job safety analysis with one shift, we then bring it across all four shifts to verify that the steps are accurate, or maybe somebody has a better idea of how to do that job more safely or more efficiently.
Yes, so then we partner across all four shifts, have our supervisors verify it's accurate, and it gets published. Once it's published, it is a really great training or reference tool. If you're new in a position, within the first five days of becoming that operator or that person, you are required to evaluate every single one of your JSAs with your hands-on, on-the-job trainer.
Sign off that you've evaluated all of them. And you actually take a quiz. If you cannot pass that quiz 100%, you don't get to stay in that role.
You don't get to be in the position.
So these aren't just things that you write down once and they start collecting dust on a shelf.
They're living pieces of work.
Absolutely. And we really encourage our employees and empower our employees to come talk to us if it feels like the JSA is inaccurate. Maybe something's changed. Maybe we got a new piece of equipment. And it's a great way that we can then continually build on our JSAs and keep them relevant.
Once the employees are trained on it, they get into a role, they may actually, based on their shift, go off-shift for up to seven days. Can you imagine getting trained in and then having a full week break? So that's where they become reference tools, and the employee can pull them up and say, "Okay, this is the way we were supposed to be doing this or that I was trained seven days ago." So we do use it as a reference tool as well.
And so when you started this process, did you find a template? Did you write your own? How did that work?
Well, we're not afraid of stealing safety stuff from other professionals.
Nothing's proprietary in safety.
That's right. That's right, so you can look across several different templates, tweak them to make them yours.
And that's basically what we did. It was very important to us though to have a standard, a standard expectation that anybody could recognize that's what it was.
We do use color-coding, green, yellow, red, talking about risk level. We teach people in our JSA trainings what risk is, severity, frequency, to help them understand the potential, the ramifications of not doing the protective measures.
Do you include photographs in any of them ever, like how to do something right versus wrong?
Some of them, but not many.
So that's kind one of those continuous improvement efforts.
Right, right. Makes sense. What has the benefit been to your employees? Have you seen a benefit to the employees and to the company?
There's multiple benefits. One, it gives the employees the confidence, like I said, new in role, that they can come back and do the job well and safe. It also provides us a format for us to encourage our supervisors to coach. So if somebody's not doing it right, now they've got something there. They know the employee's been trained on it. They've signed off on it. They did the quiz, showing competency. Now it's a coaching tool, and that's really helpful too for our supervisor or management team.
And quite frankly, it's a really good benefit to the business because, if we can be consistent across all four shifts, we likely are producing a higher quality product.
Thank you so much for sharing this information with us today.
And for those of you who maybe haven't started doing job safety analysis, or maybe you're in the process of it, maybe you were able to pick up a few tips today that you'll be able to transfer into your workplace.
I hope you gained a safety training skill today. If you know someone who needs this, go ahead and pass it on. Safety is everyone's business.