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Global Occupational Health$
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Tee L. Guidotti

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380002.001.0001

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Occupational Health and Safety in Small Enterprises

Occupational Health and Safety in Small Enterprises

(p.432) 22 Occupational Health and Safety in Small Enterprises
Global Occupational Health

Jeffrey Spickett

Wallis-Long E.

Oxford University Press

Small businesses are usually defined as an enterprise not involving manufacturing that employs 20 or fewer employees or a small manufacturing business that employs 100 or fewer. Small businesses are essential to the economy in every country, usually exceeding 90% of all businesses and employing the majority of the population. Small enterprises have certain characteristics in common, regardless of the line of business they are in. They are usually managed by only one or two decision-makers, usually the owners, and tend to employ family members or friends on a casual basis more often than large enterprises. The managers are much closer to the workers and there is often strong loyalty to the owner. The working day is often long and demanding and small enterprises may go through periods of financial stress because they often do not have much capital or resources available to adapt to changing demand. Any time or money spent on occupational health is often viewed as taking time and capital away from ensuring the survival of the business and spending money that will not provide a return on the investment. The level of knowledge and experience in a small enterprise is usually limited to the product or service and the financial and managements skills required to conduct business. They are hard to reach and to serve through existing channels of communication, commerce, and regulation. By contrast, large-scale enterprises have access to capital and resources to make changes in the workplace, have staff to monitor their compliance with regulations and can draw on professional expertise in the form of their own engineering staff or consultants. Small enterprises may be helped to comply with good occupational health and safety practice, however, if their needs are met through access to resources, training, education, mentoring, technical assistance, dedicated software, participation in trade organizations.

Keywords:   small business, small enterprises, occupational health, safety

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