The problem of protecting workers in small businesses was discussed. The nature of the occupational safety and health problem in small businesses was summarized. Small businesses may present a major occupational health challenge because they are very heterogeneous with respect to potential workplace hazards, they may have limited resources to protect their employees and contend with health care costs that may arise as a result of hazardous exposures, and they have a low priority for OSHA inspection and enforcement. Because of this situation, alternative methods for protecting worker health in small businesses such as persuading them to voluntarily adopt cost effective control technologies are needed. Issues related to attempting to influence worker health and safety in small businesses were discussed and illustrated using radiator repair shops and control technology for reducing worker lead (7439921) exposures in the shops as an example. Lead fumes generated during soldering and radiator cleaning are the major sources of lead exposure for radiator repair workers. At least three low cost technologies (typical cost below 1,000 dollars) that have been shown to be effective in reducing lead exposures were available: ventilated enclosures, movable exhaust hoods, and ventilated booths. The problem was to persuade radiator repair shop owners to adopt one of these low cost control techniques. Behavioral theories such as the Prochaska Transtheoretical Model and the Rogers Diffusion of Innovations can be applied to this problem. Other relevant sources of information and influence for radiator shop owners include trade associations, the lead supplier, OSHA consultant programs, NIOSH which can provide shop owners information about choices among the various control systems, and occupational health clinics.
NIOSH-Author; Automobile-repair-shops; Control-technology; Lead-fumes; Occupational-exposure; Heavy-metals; Health-hazards; Occupational-health; Industrial-safety; Ventilation-systems; Industrial-hygiene;
Author Keywords: control technology; behavioral science; small business; intervention research; occupational health; radiator shops; lead exposures