Health and safety in the small to medium-sized enterprise

The overwhelming majority of businesses in Europe are SMEs. Research into SMEs
is problematic, therefore until recently, many of the SME interventions have
been modelled on research and practice within larger companies. Those
interventions which have been designed for the smaller business often lack a
theoretical underpinning.

A new report, funded by the Brtitish Health and Safety Executive
(HSE), identifies what SMEs do about health & safety, what prevents them from
doing health & safety, and what would encourage them to undertaken more health
& safety.

The project aimed to elicit views from stakeholders, identify the positive
steps presumed to be undertaken, quantify the basis for presumed effectiveness
of measures, and to provide recommendations regarding dissemination of these
effective actions in support of good safety and health practice.

From a practical perspective, the SME often experiences a potential
organisational conflict between the pressures of generating income and aim of
protecting staff from occupational hazards. They frequently trade on a
reputation for reliability, quality and competitive costs.

Such goals although not exclusive, may be at variance with good health and
safety management. Typically, SMEs take their health and safety responsibilities very
seriously and conscientiously. They take advantage of the available support
mechanisms and seek to apply them effectively. However, in many enterprises of
this type, regardless of their best intentions, find themselves failing to
abide by good health and safety practice even when they can be seen to have a
effective understanding of the issues and the implications of non-adherence
with best practice and regulations.

Further info

AplusA-online.de - Source: Health & Safety Executive