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EMPLOYERS' LEGAL DUTIES AND JOB SAFETY ANALYSIS

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.

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