Improving safety in small enterprises through an integrated safety management intervention

Pete Kines, Dorte R. Andersen, Lars Peter Sønderbo Andersen, Kent Nielsen, Louise Møller Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Problem: There are few systematic evaluations of occupational injury prevention methods that target small enterprises. This study puts into practice a participatory behavior-based approach integrated with safety culture initiatives, and tests its applicability in small enterprises. Method: Fourteen small (10-19 employees) metal industry enterprises are randomly assigned (6 intervention; 8 comparison enterprises) to receive an intervention or not, over a 26 week period. The intervention involves coaching (n=4) with each owner/ manager, and owner/manager led constructive dialogue meetings (n=2) with the workers. Process and effect measures include an eight-factor safety perception survey, a safety observation index and interviews.
Results: The coaching of the six owners/managers result in the identification of 48 safety tasks, of which 85% are solved at follow-up. Meetings with workers result in the prioritization of 29 tasks, 79% of which are accomplished at follow-up. Intervention enterprises have significant increases on six of the eight survey factors, while comparisons increase on only one factor. All enterprises demonstrate significant increases in their safety indexes. Interview data validate and supplement the safety survey and safety index results.
Discussion: Key components of the intervention involve management commitment, worker involvement, and increase in mutual obligations and trust. Diffusion and dissemination lead towards the initiation of culture change, however, it is premature to judge whether sustained culture change has taken place.
Summary and impact on industry: The application of an integrated approach to safety management combining behavior-based and culture change in small enterprises is demonstrated, with some evidence for behavior change and the initiation of safety culture change. The work helps fill the gap in the need for
systematic implementation and evaluation of injury prevention/safety management systems targeted towards small enterprises. Given that over 95% of enterprises in most countries have less than 20 employees, there is great potential for applying the proposed approaches more broadly.
Original languageDanish
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Volume44
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
ISSN0022-4375
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

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