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Partnering for workplace safety in small business.
Safe Workplace 1997 Sep; :11-13
The efforts of NIOSH to promote workplace safety in small businesses by partnering the federal government, industry representatives, and labor forces were discussed. Employees of small businesses were often at greater risk of work related safety hazards than employees of large businesses. This was attributed to the difficulty in perceiving the seriousness of high work injury rates when only a small number of employees were involved. In addition, the financial and regulatory incentives for workplace safety programs, evident in large businesses, were less prevalent in small businesses. Because many small businesses did not offer health care plans, workers who became ill often quit and any job related health effects were unidentifiable. Other factors increasing the safety risks of small businesses included high employee turnover, informal management systems, and the lack of unions, comprehensive training programs, or worker health and safety advocates. Furthermore, much of the occupational health and safety research conducted was not applicable to small businesses. For more than 10 years, NIOSH developed and demonstrated low cost, effective hazard controls for small businesses. In the asphalt paving field, NIOSH worked with government agencies, industry associations, labor unions, asphalt paver manufacturers, and asphalt paving contractors to develop engineering controls for asphalt paving equipment. In the radiator repair industry, NIOSH developed and tested a low cost ventilation booth for radiator repair tank workstations and disseminated engineering control information to 7,000 radiator repair shops. In the auto repair industry, NIOSH made extensive investigations into the effectiveness of engineering control methods for brake servicing shops. The author concludes that comprehensive research and effective communication among government agencies, industries, employers, and workers are essential for promoting workplace safety in small businesses.
Occupational-health; Occupational-safety-programs; Occupational-exposure; Industrial-safety; Safety-engineering; Safety-education; Safety-research; Work-environment; Worker-health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division