A systematic review of health and safety in small enterprises: Findings from quantitative and qualitative literature

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Dr. Ellen MacEachen and Dr. Curtis Breslin
Institute for Work & Health

Over half of the labour force in the Canadian private sector is employed in small businesses. However, delivering occupational health and safety (OHS) support to this sector can be challenging.

Institute Scientists Dr. Ellen MacEachen and Dr. Curtis Breslin led a systematic review of international peer-reviewed literature to identify effective occupational health and safety interventions and implementation directions for small businesses. The overall research question addressed by the review was: “What understandings, processes and interventions influence OHS in small businesses?” Sub-questions were: “Do OHS interventions in small businesses have an effect on OHS outcomes?” and “How do small business workplace parties understand and enact processes related to OHS?”

In this presentation, MacEachen and Breslin will outline how they conducted this mixed-method systematic review and their key findings. The synthesis of the qualitative literature addresses the unique features of the legal and work organization contexts of small business and how they affect the way workplace health is understood and managed. The synthesis of the quantitative intervention literature shows that OHS interventions can have an effect in small businesses and describes the benefits of different types of multi-component OHS interventions.