The Fifth Circuit in Glaze v. Higman Barge Lines, Inc., 611 Fed. App'x 227 (2015), considered the issue of whether an employer's safety manual requirement of performing a job safety analysis ("JSA") creates a legal duty to an employee.
In this case, the plaintiff alleged he was injured while performing maintenance to his employer's vessel: using a needle gun to grind and strip rust. Plaintiff further alleged thathe was instructed to do the work by the captain without conducting a JSA, and that unsafe methods of work caused the vessel to be unseaworthy.
The Court noted that the task plaintiff was performing was a routine task and that the Fifth Circuit has held that the failure to perform JSAs is not a breach of duty. In addition, plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that his employer's failure to institute a policy limiting how long a seaman can use a needle gun violated ordinary prudence. Finally, the Fifth Circuit stated that an employer's failure to conduct a JSA is not actionable as an unseaworthiness claim. Therefore, an employer's safety manual requirement of performing a JSA does not create a legal duty, especially when it relates to a routine task.