Working with machinery can cause injuries in many ways, including getting struck by moving parts, getting caught and pulled into rotating parts and drive mechanisms, coming in contact with sharp machine edges or parts, and exposure to heat, chemicals and electricity.

Before using any piece of machinery, think about what injury risks exist and how they can be properly managed. Consider the following:

  • Does the machine have a current and completed job hazard assessment (JHA)? If not, perform one. The JHA analysis should be used to train operators and maintenance personnel. Any changes in the machine, processing, guarding, or an incident involving injury or a near-miss, should require a re-analysis and update.
  • Written standard operating procedures (SOPs) are invaluable when it comes to ensuring that operators are taught how to safely operate a machine. SOPs should include information about:
    • Proper operation.
    • Set up, maintenance, and adjustment.
    • Jams clearing (lockout/tagout, specialized tools).
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – what, when to use, and when not to use.
  • The most effective protection you can give your workers is good training. A worker who knows how to recognize hazards can then use their training to control the situation and avoid exposure to unsafe conditions.
    • Document all training.
    • Be thorough and demonstrate how to properly operate the machine, then have the trainee demonstrate back to the trainer, what they understood.
    • Do not let any unauthorized or untrained personnel operate machinery.
  • Ensure the machine functions properly, including all guarding, E-stops, interlocks, light beams, pressure-sensitive mats, etc. Consider developing a pre-use checklist.
  • Ensure the area around machinery is clean and orderly to prevent slips/trips and lighting is sufficient to perform work safely.

View a completed JHA example below.

Columns include:

  1. Step/Task column: List steps/tasks that are part of the job you selected.
  2. Hazards column: Note any workplace condition that can potentially cause occupational injury, death, or disease. Assume that no PPE is being worn, even if it is because hazards could persist if PPE isn’t used. You can choose to add detail about how injuries could occur due to the hazard.
  3. Controls column: Note how you will eliminate/minimize the hazard (does not include PPE).
  4. PPE or additional equipment needed column: Detail what type of PPE is needed for each hazard that can’t be eliminated/minimized using controls. Detail additional equipment needed to safely complete the task.

OPERATION: Operating a hand truck

DATE: December 7, 2019


PARTICIPANTS: Jane Doe and John Doe


Step/Task Hazards Controls PPE or Additional Equipment Needed
Pre-operation safety check
  • Untrained operator
  • Training on hand truck design, controls, and instrumentation.
  • Training on stability, proper way to transport, load, and stack on the hand truck
Assembling a load
  • Rolling wheels off the edge of rams and loading docks
  • Stay well back from the edge
  • Never turn around on a slope
  • When going down a ramp, keep truck ahead of you, and, when going up, pull the truck behind you
  • Make sure truck’s chisel is all the way under the load
Operating the two-wheel hand truck
  • Slip, trips, falls
  • Slow down for turns
  • Make sure you have enough overhead clearance
Transporting a load
  • Pinching hands between the truck and other objects
  • Be alert
  • Strap bulky or dangerous cargo to the truck’s frame
  • Put heavier objects on the bottom
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands
  • Straps
Storing the hand truck
  • Trip hazard
  • Store in a safe place, out of the way area