Tim's Blog

Are JSA & SWMS the same?


Safety management is all about avoiding injuries. For any particular job, it requires two discrete phases: the first is identification of hazards and the second is development of a “method of work” incorporating effective risk controls for those hazards.



Phase 1 (identifying hazards) is often achieved by a formal job safety analysis (JSA).


This analysis should include consideration of all applicable hazard types (falls, hot work, confined spaces, chemicals, manual tasks etc.). It should also ask questions like “will there be sufficient light?” and “do any of the workers have any limitations or existing injuries that might make them more prone to injury?”


This first phase is job and location-specific, and focuses on points of interaction between workers, their equipment and their work environment. The location of the work and the particular hazards related to that location should be considered, including such factors as isolation of energy systems, the availability of first aid, concurrent activities and even the weather.


Phase 1 needs to be completed in consultation with the workers who will do the actual work, and there needs to be a conversation between supervisors and workers (and contractors if they are involved).





Phase 2 (method and risk controls) is often achieved via a safe work procedure (eg. SWMS).


A safe work procedure should be set out as a step-by-step work method, incorporating appropriate risk controls. It should be based on the hazard-identification (Phase 1) and should incorporate the risk controls needed during the work.


Online, there are many generic templates for both job safety analysis and safe work procedures, however they vary greatly in quality, even the ones you pay for. The template documents you choose should always be tailored, both to your business and for individual jobs – so avoid any templates that can’t be edited.


If a job is being done for the first time, a job safety analysis should always precede the development (or customisation) of a safe work procedure.



One last and very important point. Safe work procedures should be succinct and well laid-out. For example, if a task is relatively straightforward, an 11-page safe work procedure is probably not viable and would not be used.