NIOSH special hazard review: identifying high-risk small business industries - the basis for preventing occupational injury, illness, and fatality.
More than half of the U.S. workforce is employed in business establishments with fewer than 100 employees. Prevention of occupational illness and injury is often difficult in these small business establishments because they have few safety and health resources, cannot usually hire staff devoted to safety and health activities, and often lack the ability to identify high-risk small business industries from national data on occupational injury, illness, and fatality. Both the total number of cases and incidence rates were considered. Small business industries were identified as those with standard industrial classification (SIC) codes in which at least 80% of the employees work in business establishments with fewer than 100 employees. In this report, 253 small business industries were identified with data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the years 1994-1995. These industries represent nearly 4 million establishments and more than 30 million employees--roughly one-third of all employees in private industry. Occupational injury, illness, and fatality data were available for 105 of these industries. From the data for these industries, the top 25% (n=26) were ranked according to their injury, illness, and fatality experience. A combined risk index (i.e., the combined risk of occupational injury, illness, and fatality) was also used to include Logging (SIC 241); Cut Stone and Stone Products (SIC 328); Trucking Terminal Facilities (SIC 423); Roofing, Siding, and Sheet Metal Work (SIC 176); Camps and Recreational Vehicle Parks (SIC 703); Landscape and Horticultural Services (SIC 708); Animal and Marine Fats and Oils (SIC 2077); Concrete, Gypsum, and Plastic Products (SIC 327); and Taxicabs (SIC 412). This information can be used by the small business community, labor officials, occupational safety and health practitioners and agencies, and others to target prevention activities to small business industries with the greatest need.