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Occupational safety and health and smaller organisations: research challenges and opportunities

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journal contribution
posted on 11.10.2016, 11:59 by James Pinder, Alistair Gibb, Andrew Dainty, Wendy Jones, Michael Fray, Ruth Hartley, Alistair Cheyne, Aoife Finneran, Jane Glover, Roger Haslam, Jennie Morgan, Patrick Waterson, Elaine Yolande Gosling, Phil Bust, Sarah Pink
Despite the prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro organisations, comparatively little is known about how such organisations approach occupational safety and health (OSH). Research has tended to present a negative picture of OSH practices in smaller organisations. This paper discusses some of the challenges to researching OSH in SMEs and micro organisations and how these challenges can be overcome. It draws lessons and experiences from a qualitative study involving 149 structured interviews, nine short-term ethnographies and 21 semistructured interviews with owners and employees in SMEs and micro organisations from a broad cross-section of industry sectors in the UK, including construction, retail, healthcare, logistics and agriculture. Data from the study suggest that the established boundaries between micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are less meaningful in an OSH context – OSH practices are influenced more by the culture of the organisation, the type of work being undertaken and the sector that an organisation operates in. OSH practices in SMEs and micro organisations tend to reflect the more informal characteristics of such organisations, with more emphasis (than many larger organisations) on tacit knowledge, learning by doing and improvisation. Such practices should not necessarily be assumed to be unsafe or incompatible with formalised OSH.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

Policy and Practice in Health and Safety

Volume

14

Issue

1

Pages

34-49

Citation

PINDER, J.A. ... et al, 2016. Occupational safety and health and smaller organisations: research challenges and opportunities. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 14 (1), pp. 34-49.

Publisher

© Taylor & Francis

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

16/09/2016

Publication date

2016-10-28

Copyright date

2016

Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Policy and Practice in Health and Safety on 28 Oct 2016, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14773996.2016.1239357

ISSN

1477-3996

eISSN

1477-4003

Language

en

Exports