Small business health and safety

IWH research that specifically looks at injury prevention, return to work and other work-health issues in small businesses is collected together here. However, not included is IWH research that cuts across all sizes of business, including small business. For that reason, visitors are encouraged to explore beyond this page to find equally important information on the prevention of work injury and disability in small businesses.

Young couple working at their small woodworking business
Impact case study

IWH model on breakthrough change used as foundation for WSPS small business strategy

An Ontario health and safety association, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, turned to the Institute's model of breakthrough change to inform its approach to small business, especially the concept of finding the "knowledge transformation leader" within a small business to advocate for occupational health and safety change.
Published: December 2017
Illustrated concept of work team improving performance
Tools and guides

Breakthrough Change in OHS: Case study series

Each of four case studies tells the story of an Ontario organization that achieved firm-level, sustained improvement in health and safety performance. Each illustrates the factors critical to making large improvement in health and safety, based upon an evidence-based model of breakthrough change developed through Institute for Work & Health research.
Published: January 2014
Journal article
Journal article
At Work article
At Work article

The big picture: Solving the “problem” of OHS in small business

Solutions to the “problem” of health and safety in small business are slow in coming. At the 2009 Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture, Dr. Joan Eakin drew upon her years of research to help explain why.
Published: February 2010
A brewery worker inspects equipment
Research Highlights

How do small businesses implement health and safety processes?

One size does not fit all. When it comes to occupational health and safety interventions, small businesses have needs that completely distinct from those of larger organizations.
Published: January 2010
Close-up of a neon "open" sign
Research Highlights

Improving health and safety in small businesses

Health and safety interventions in small businesses can improve safety-related attitudes, behaviour and health. Evidence supports two intervention types: a combination of training and safety audits; and a combination of engineering controls, training, safety audits and rewards.
Published: January 2010
At Work article
At Work article

Nachemson lecture: Health and safety in small workplaces

Dr. Joan Eakin, a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, will talk about the challenges of ensuring worker health and safety in small businesses at the 2009 Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture, taking place November 25 in Toronto.
Published: October 2009
IWH Speaker Series
IWH Speaker Series

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

In this presentation, Institute Scientists Dr. Ellen MacEachen and Dr. Curtis Breslin outline the key findings from a systematic review of international peer-reviewed literature to identify effective occupational health and safety interventions and implementation directions for small businesses.
Published: February 2009
At Work article
At Work article

Small firms need OHS services tailored to their needs

When it comes to occupational health and safety (OHS), small businesses are not large firms on a smaller scale. They have unique features that affect their approach to workplace health and safety, and these features should be taken into account by OHS professionals and policy-makers when designing s
Published: February 2009