Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 3: Beyond Hard Hats and Harnesses: How Small Construction Companies Manage Safety Effectively
3. Beyond hard hats and harnesses: how small construction companies manage safety effectively Mark Fleming and Natasha Scott The rate of non-fatal workplace injuries in the United States has decreased every year since 2003, when annual estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses were first reported (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). Similarly, the rate of non-fatal work injuries for Canada has declined each year since 2000 (Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, 2008). Despite the decline in reported injuries, improvements to workplace safety still need to occur, as millions of workers continue to be seriously injured every year on the job. As evidence of the need for continued improvements in workplace safety, in 2008 approximately 3.5 million workers were injured on the job in the United States (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). This number represents a non-fatal workplace injury rate of 3.9 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009). In addition, approximately 307 802 Canadian workers were injured on the job in 2008 (Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, 2008). Previous research has consistently demonstrated that small companies1 report higher injury rates than large companies (i.e. employing more than 100 workers) (Jeong, 1998; McVitte et al., 1997). Although the exact nature of the relationship between company size and injury rate is not fully understood, a number of differences have been found to exist between small and large companies that could influence safety performance. In particular, a number of organizational factors unique to...
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