Write the Safe Job Procedure (SJP)
The safe job procedure is the final result or product of the JHA process. The safe job procedure is an excellent document to use as a training lesson plan. In fact, you might include the safe job procedures you’ve developed as part of the safety training plan.
If the safe job procedure is poorly written and hard to understand by those unfamiliar with the job, the JHA may not be effective as an on-the-job training tool. It’s important to write a clear, concise, and concrete safe job procedure. So, let’s take a look at some of the best strategies in writing safe job procedures.
Write in a step-by-step format. Usually, this means writing a number of paragraphs. Each paragraph should attempt to:
- Describe the step. Remember each step is describing one action. For example, you might say, “Grasp the breaker switch and move it from the on to the off position (down).”
- Point out the hazard. If a step includes exposure to a hazard, there are four parts to the step:
a. describe the action
b. identify the hazard
c. describe the possible injury the hazard could cause
d. identify the safety precaution to prevent the injury
For instance, you would continue the warning by saying, “Grasp the breaker switch and move it from the on to the off position (down). To prevent a possible serious burn injury if an arc flash occurs, be sure you turn your head and look away as you flip the breaker switch.”
More Points to Remember
- Paint a word picture – concrete vs. abstract. The idea is to write the procedure in such a way that someone who is not familiar with the job can actually “see” each step occur. When writing safe job procedures, we tend to write in a technical style because it seems to be more “efficient.” However, if you are going to use the safe job procedure as a lesson plan for conducting safety training, it’s probably a good idea to write in a more interesting conversational style.
- Write in the second person. For example, say “Be sure you…“. Try to avoid writing in the third person such as, “Be sure the worker…“. In most steps you won’t have to worry about this because the person you are writing to is implied.
- Write in the present tense. Say “take” rather than “should be taken.” Use verbs that express actions to complete right now. This helps to create the word picture and streamline the safe job procedure.
- Write as clearly as possible. Say “use” rather than “utilize.” Replacing more complex words with simple words helps to make sure your employees comprehend the material.
- If you use acronyms or jargon, make sure the meaning of the acronym is spelled out when first used. Make sure jargon is explained on first use.
- Remind the worker why it is important to do the step safely. Unfortunately, OSHA rules do not emphasize this important part of the training. Nevertheless, you should always discuss the consequences of the employee’s personal behavior.
- Include notes, cautions, warnings. Tell the employee about the dangers and safety precautions to reduce the dangers in each step. Doing this also helps to emphasize the costs (injury, illness) and benefits (health) of using safety precautions.
- Keep sentences short. Grammar checker software can help you do this. Usually, a sentence of 7-15 words is adequate.
- Write in the second-person (you, your/yours) point of view and in the present tense.
Remind the worker why it is important to do each step safely. Unfortunately, OSHA rules do not emphasize this important part of the training. Nevertheless, you should always discuss the consequences of compliance and noncompliance with the steps in the JHA.
Now let’s see what our sample JHA looks like now that we’ve identified some hazards and their related preventive measures in each step, and written the safe job procedure.