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Workforce protection in small businesses. A response to the National Science Foundation's dear colleague letter for SBE 2020: future research in the social, behavioral & economic sciences.
Cunningham TR; Sinclair R; Schulte P
National Science Foundation, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. SBE 2020: White Papers; Titles, Authors, and Abstracts. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 2011 Feb; :31-32
The human and financial costs of work-related illnesses and injuries are a significant and persistent burden to society. The social, behavioral and economic (SBE) sciences have played a role in reducing those costs over the years by developing management practices, workers' compensation insurance systems, and government policies that seek to eliminate dangerous workplaces. Unfortunately, those systems emphasize use of technologies and practices to protect workers that are often beyond the resources of small businesses. We propose a multi-level, cross-disciplinary vision of research that places SBE at the center of workplace safety and health efforts. Research is needed at the social systems level to understand the social networks of small businesses and how those systems can be coordinated to better-deliver safety and health assistance. That effort must be coordinated with research and development on new regulatory and insurance systems that better fit the limited capacities of small enterprises. To succeed, this vision for research must include investigation of the managerial mind and its influence on protective practices in the workplace. We must also understand how family, female, and minority ownership affects prevention practices. There is some existing capacity to execute this vision, but leadership from the SBE research community is vital.
Small-businesses; Injuries; Control-technology; Control-methods; Engineering-controls; Work-practices; Work-operations
National Science Foundation, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. SBE 2020: White Papers; Titles, Authors, and Abstracts
Page last reviewed: January 28, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division