Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper

Small and medium sized enterprises constitute the vast majority of businesses in most developed economies. Although a large number of people are employed in such organizations, research and practice in occupational health and safety has largely ignored the unique challenges of this sector. In this highly relevant book, international experts in the field summarize existing knowledge and identify the best practices for enhancing occupational health and safety in small and medium sized enterprises. The authors specifically identify solutions that are appropriate for small businesses.

Chapter 6: Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Health, Well-being, Stress and Stress Management

Sheena Johnson

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisational behaviour


Sheena Johnson INTRODUCTION The workplace has been shown to have an influence on human health and well-being. Uncertainty, job stress and work organization being major factors, particularly in knowledge economies such as the UK (Schulte and Vainio, 2010). The importance of well-being at work is increasingly being recognized nationally, as evidenced by reports such as the UK’s 2008 report by Dame Carol Black Working for a Healthier Tomorrow, and internationally, as demonstrated, for example, by the ‘Towards Better Work and Well-being’ conference with contributions from more than 30 countries (Schulte and Vainio, 2010). This chapter will discuss well-being in terms of stress and stress management with a particular focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It will look at organizational factors (e.g. stress and stress management as experienced in SMEs) and the societal context (e.g. the regulatory issues surrounding workplace well-being). The chapter will not present definitions and detailed descriptions of health, well-being, and workplace stress in recognition of the general understanding of these terms. The focus will instead be on specific problems facing SMEs and ways in which these can be addressed. The interested reader may find these sources useful if more detailed background information is needed (see e.g. Cartwright and Cooper, 2009; Dewe et al., 2010). A UK perspective is taken in terms of the regulations and advice available to companies regarding health, well-being, stress and stress management. However, the general themes and the underlying research are applicable internationally. The chapter will: discuss the reasons why SMEs...

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