Table of Contents

Human Resource Management in Small Business

Human Resource Management in Small Business

Achieving Peak Performance

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Cary L. Cooper and Ronald J. Burke

Human Resource Management in Small Business fills a gap in our understanding of economic performance. Small businesses are more numerous, have more employees, and contribute more to the economies of nations throughout the world than do large organizations. This book examines a range of issues, including the significance of human resource management (HRM) practices to small business success, the management of work hours and work stressors, work and family issues, succession planning, employee recruitment and selection, and managing staff. It also explores how individuals develop HRM skills, and learn from their own and others’ experiences. The role of HRM practices in successful small businesses is illustrated through a range of case studies.

Chapter 8: Health and Safety in Small Businesses

Sharon Clarke

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Sharon Clarke Companies employing fewer than 250 employees constitute 99.9 per cent of UK businesses; they accounted for more than half of employment (59.4 per cent) and turnover (50.1 per cent) in the UK for 2008 (DBIS, 2009). Whilst small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to grow and prosper, in terms of occupational safety and health, there is evidence that SMEs experience significantly higher accident rates than large firms (Fabiano et al., 2004; McVittie, et al., 1997). Furthermore, it has been estimated that the rate of workplace injury and ill health in SMEs is approximately twice that found in large organizations (Pearson, 2001). Nevertheless, as noted by Hale (2003) the “vast majority of studies of safety management come from the large, bureaucratic organizations that run high-hazard technologies such as power utilities, process industry, mining, and transport . . . there are relatively few studies of small and medium-sized companies” (pp. 186–7). Thus, although health and safety risks appear to be significantly higher in SMEs, there has been limited research conducted to understand the reasons for these elevated risks. There has also been a tendency for researchers to consider both mediumsized and smaller businesses as a collective, whereas there is evidence that occupational safety and health issues are particularly acute for small enterprises (with fewer than 50 employees) and micro-businesses, and may require different types of solutions (Champoux & Brun, 2003; Micheli & Cagno, 2010). This chapter will review the current literature on health and safety in SMEs, including small and micro-businesses, with particular emphasis...

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