Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2003-100, 2002 Oct; :1-51
Frequently, small businesses do not have the in-house capacity or other resources to address safety and health concerns in the workplace. To help small business owners, employers, and managers deal with these concerns, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed this Safety and Health Resource Guide for Small Businesses. The guide contains telephone numbers, e-mail and Internet addresses, and mailing information that will connect small businesses to the government agencies, private organizations, consultants, and others who can help them with occupational safety and health issues. For the purposes of this document, NIOSH considers a small business establishment to be one with fewer than 100 employees at a single site. The success of small businesses relies partly on their small scale, which enables them to operate effectively with limited resources, respond quickly to demands for products and services, and interact with clients, employees, and vendors on a personal level. In small businesses, injuries and illnesses can exact a hefty toll. For a small business owner operating independently, the magnitude of the problem may not be apparent. However, a government survey of U.S. businesses in 1994 - 1995 found that workplaces with 10 or fewer employees experience about one- third of all work-related deaths, although they only employ 15% of all workers in private industry. Small businesses often operate as a family, with concern for protecting each employee from harm at work. Yet, because of their size, these businesses frequently lack the services of occupational safety and health professionals who can identify and prevent hazards. In addition, small businesses have been traditionally under served by occupational safety and health initiatives. Instead, many safety and health regulations and enforcement efforts/designed to protect employees from hazards have focused on large employers. As a result, safety and health issues may be more readily resolved in large businesses by complying with standards and using additional resources. Smaller businesses may be unable to recognize hazards as readily and may therefore be unable to find information about work-related hazards or develop solutions.