PSHSA partnered with Laurentian University and the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety & Health (CROSH) to learn more about facilitators and barriers to occupational health & safety for Ontario small business

Laurentian University and Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health CROSH logoConsiderable effort has been made to examine the health and safety of employees in large-sized enterprises. However, the attention given to the organization of work, occupational health and safety, and work disability in small-sized enterprises (SSEs) is limited.

PSHSA has partnered with Laurentian University and the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) to learn more about facilitators and barriers to occupational health and safety among SSEs in Ontario.

The intent of this study was to examine challenges and opportunities to advance health and safety in small to medium size enterprises in the public sector.  In addition, the overarching goal of this project is to promote a work disability prevention approach to workplace safety among SSEs, and to promote and foster a culture of work safety among SSEs in order to minimize occupational injuries.

A sample of employees from all levels in Ontario organizations with 5 to 100 full-time equivalent employees were invited via email to participate in an online survey.

A total of 153 questionnaires were completed. The majority of respondents were female (84%) with a mean age of 49.8 years. Seventy-four per cent (74%) were supervisors. Seventy per cent (70%) of respondents were from the private sector while 30% derived from the public sector, including healthcare, community services and non-profit organizations. The survey identified 22 barriers and facilitators of a safe work environment currently present in organizations that wither prevent or support a safe work environment. Further, conducting regular safety inspections of the workplace was found to be statistically associated with a safe working environment.

Discussion followed the study and recommendations were made for strategies and training opportunities which focus on how to adapt occupational health and safety legislation to the nature and diversity of SSEs.

To learn more about this study, please contact Olena Chapovalov at ochapovalov@pshsa.ca or Dr. Behdin Nowrouzi at bx_nowrouzi@laurentian.ca.