A systematic review of health and safety in small enterprises: Findings from quantitative and qualitative literature

Institute for Work & Health
481 University Avenue, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario

Ellen MacEachen
Institute for Work & Health Curtis Breslin
Institute for Work & Health

Over half of the labour force in the Canadian private sector is employed in small businesses. However, delivering occupational health and safety (OHS) support to this sector can be challenging.

Institute Scientists Dr. Ellen MacEachen and Dr. Curtis Breslin led a systematic review of international peer-reviewed literature to identify effective occupational health and safety interventions and implementation directions for small businesses. The overall research question addressed by the review was: “What understandings, processes and interventions influence OHS in small businesses?” Sub-questions were: “Do OHS interventions in small businesses have an effect on OHS outcomes?” and “How do small business workplace parties understand and enact processes related to OHS?”

In this presentation, MacEachen and Breslin outline how they conducted this mixed-method systematic review and their key findings. The synthesis of the qualitative literature addresses the unique features of the legal and work organization contexts of small business and how they affect the way workplace health is understood and managed. The synthesis of the quantitative intervention literature shows that OHS interventions can have an effect in small businesses and describes the benefits of different types of multi-component OHS interventions.

About presenter

Photo of Curtis Breslin

Dr. F. Curtis Breslin is a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, which he joined 2000. He is also a professor at Seneca College in the School of English and Liberal Studies, where he teaches courses in psychology and research methods. He is also an associate professor in the social and behavioural health sciences stream at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

About IWH Speaker Series

The IWH Speaker Series brings you the latest findings from work and health researchers from the Institute for Work & Health (IWH) and other Canadian and international academic institutions around the world. For those unable to attend in person or via live stream, most presentations in the IWH Speaker Series are audio-recorded and made available as slidecasts, typically within two weeks of the original presentation.