Open Journal of Safety Science and Technology, 2011, 1, 11 5-128
doi:10.4236/ojsst.2011.13013 Published Online December 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Re-Strategising for Effective Health and Safety Standards
in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Ikechukwu A. Diugwu
Department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology,
Minna, Nigeria
Received September 15, 2011; revised October 28, 2011; accepted November 5, 2011
Poor health and safety record impact on the image/reputation and operational capabilities of businesses, es-
pecially those within the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. Given the role of SMEs in the economy,
this paper attempts to highlight the issue of poor health and safety performance of the SME sector and sug-
gest a strategy for improving the level of performance. To this end, survey questionnaires were distributed to
assess the overall awareness of people about health and safety issues, motivations and constraints, vis-a-viz
supply chain improvement initiatives. Based on the findings (responses from questionnaires) and existing
literature, the unique characteristics of the supply chain network makes it a suitable medium through which
health and safety improvement in small and medium-sized enterprises can be realised. Additionally, the
findings show that good health and safety management culture enhances image, lowers costs, and improves
the overall competitiveness of organisations. To complement the efforts/desires of health and safety regula-
tors, there is need to leverage on the relationships that exist in supply chains, shown in this exercise to have a
major influence on the activities of organisations.
Keywords: Health and Safety Management, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, SMEs, Supply Chain
1. Introduction
There are indications that in spite of the contribution of
the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector to na-
tional economies, efforts at improving health and safety
standard of this sector have not produced intended results.
This conclusion is informed by th e noticeable gaps in the
implementation of health and safety laws, and compli-
ance with these laws by SMEs [1], and the greater chal-
lenges encountered by SMEs in developing and main-
taining health and safety programmes than their larger
counterparts [2-6]. Some of these challenges include the
difficulties experienced by SMEs in the interpretation of
regulations [7], th e recogn ition of relevant reg u lations , or
even in their willingness to liaise with regulators [8]. In
the past, different strategies have been used to enhance
performance of SMEs [9,10]. While some of these inter-
ventions were not successful [11], others were inappro-
priate and of poor quality such that SMEs became unre-
sponsive to them [12 ]. As a result, the suitability o f these
strategies has been questioned [13]. Hence, there is a
need to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies aimed at
enhancing the awareness of, and compliance with safety
and health legislations in business sectors (e.g. SMEs)
with low compliance rates [14]. Equally important is the
exploration of other health and safety improvement ini-
tiatives [15] that would enab le SMEs to benefit from the
initiatives, knowledge an d capabilities of others [9].
The need for this alternative improvement strategy,
especially in health and safety, is predicated on the fact
that workplace safety requires not only technical inter-
ventions, but also the adoption of management, organisa-
tional, and training instruments that can influence risk
behaviour [16]. It has been argued that if sound man-
agement principles had been applied to health and safety
management, it would have been realised early enough
that the coercive forces of inspections by regulatory
agencies as the sole tool for promoting good health and
safety practices in smaller businesses was no longer ef-
fective; and it was no longer advisable to rely so much
on it [17]. The ineffectiveness of this strategy has been
attributed to the few inspectors assigned to monitor so
many businesses, which are often distributed over a wide
geographical area; a situation that makes the SME sector
a “hard to reach” one [18]. Again, in view of the fact that
workers in a unionised environment are more likely to
exercise their rights over health and safety at work issues
than their non-unionised counterparts [19], it would be
proper to assume that the absence of organised trade un-
ions in many small organisations impacts on the extent to
which employees influence decisions on health and safe-
ty related matters within their organisations. Similarly,
the fear of being punished for poor performance affects
the willingness of SMEs to seek help and information
from sources perceived as having regulatory or enforce-
ment powers. Thus, additional levers and supports are
needed if regulations were to be effective in ensuring be-
tter health and safety arrangements and outcomes in
small businesses. Consequently, if the challenges of pre-
ventive health and safety in small businesses were to be
dealt with effectively, an alternative to regulation is to
explore those social and economic factors that influence
organisational behaviour, even if they are indirectly as-
sociated with occupational health and safety [20].
Undoubtedly, these tools and resources are better ac-
cessed through channels familiar to SMEs, which offers
greater degrees of trust, loyalty and comfort [21], than
through regulatory agencies/bodies such as the Health
and Safety Executive (HSE). The supply chain network
meets these criteria and should be explored if SMEs were
to become fully aware of, and committed to health and
safety performance improvement initiatives. Thus, link-
ing health and safety to economically significant aspects
of work in which the self-interest of small business em-
ployers can be manipulated to improve their health and
safety arrangements becomes a positive way of achieving
the results, that seemingly elude the more traditional ap-
proaches to compliance [20]. The conviction that supply
chain influences represent a good improvement strategy
is further strengthened by research findings which show
that SMEs regard social networks as important channels
through which they can access knowledge and informa-
tion, and are keen to join or establish networks with key
customers [22]. Although anecdotal evidence suggests
that the business case for a better health and safety man-
agement is yet to be fully appreciated by many SMEs,
HSM remains an important aspect of business manage-
ment [23]; successful organisations are known to actively
manage all aspects of their businesses, including health
and safety [24].
This paper identifies an effective way to improve heal-
th and safety management in SMEs, thus minimising the
variously acknowledged [25,26] impact of lost working
days due to accidents at work and ill health on a nation’s
economy. Although large organisations may have reser-
vations over the benefits of activ ely participating in heal-
th and safety improvement initiatives in SMEs, the risks
from supply interruption (ranging from delivery to qual-
ity problems) is enormous [27]. These views when con-
sidered within the context of a heav ily ou tsourced market
economy, justifies the interest in, and the investment in
supply chain health and safety improvement. If perfor-
mance of suppliers in the lower tiers of supply chains
impact on the competitiveness of organisations across the
entire chain [12], then, the degree to which a company
manages its supply chain becomes a major determinant
to its success [28]. Engaging in supply chain health and
safety improvement activities would serve as a further
demonstration of the commercial benefits of good health
and safety management (HSM) to businesses, especially
SMEs [15] where investments in health and safety im-
provement activities are still regarded as undesirable
costs rather than as investments.
The diverse nature of SMEs is such that most coun-
tries do not have an officially recognised single defini-
tion of what constitutes an SME [29,30], making the
definition of what co nstituted an SME a problematic one
[31]. This notwithstanding, most definitions of an SME
have been based on a combination of turnover, balance
sheet total, or number of employees. In spite of these
disparities, there is unanimity in acceptance and recogni-
tion of the vital ro le played by th e SME sector in shap ing
the economy of nations through the provision of new
ideas, products, services, and most significantly jobs
However, in spite of the strategic role played by the
SME sector, there is a scarce knowledge about health
and safety in that sector [38]; making HSM in SMEs to
be relatively understudied and underserved [6]. This has
led to the poor level of HSM evident in the sector [13].
This poor HSM culture may have contributed to the sig-
nificantly higher rates and fatality of accidents in SMEs
than in large enterprises [39,40].
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Area
An area probability sampling tech nique [41,42] was ado-
pted for this study. In consideration of the fact that there
are over 4 million business enterprises in the United
Kingdom [34], it was not feasible to survey every busi-
ness enterprise. Consequently, multistage cluster samp-
ling was applied in this study. To do this, a geographic
location was defined in line with the sugg estion by M. J.
Baker [43]. The survey sample was geographically re-
stricted and data for the analysis were gathered through
survey questionnaires distributed to businesses in two
major cities in West Midlands, UK (Coventry and Bir-
mingham). Within this geographic cluster, questionnaires
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
were also distributed to organised groups such as the
Coventry and Warwickshire Safety Group, and the Bir-
mingham Health, Safety and Environment Association.
A simple random sampling technique was used to choose
enterprises to be polled fro m enterprise listed in the App -
legate directory within these cities. Furthermore, the sur-
vey covered only a relatively small section of the popu-
lation. This was informed by the fact that in surveys
where the target population is large, a smaller percentage
of the population is needed to achieve the same level of
accuracy. This decision is in line with established guide-
lines on this subject [44].
2.2. Data Assembly and Management
The questionnaire (Appendix 1) sought to ascertain the
respondent’s views on varying health and safety issues
and was divided into eight sections viz:
Section A: Basic company information;
Section B: Awareness of health and safety manage-
Section C: Existe nce of heal th and safety policy ;
Section D: Motivations for health and safety manage-
Section E: Constraints to health and safety manage-
Section F: Improvement support from industrial net-
Section G: Supplier assessment and evaluation;
Section H: Supplier development and improvement
support available.
The questions asked were based on find ings from lite-
rature review in health and safety management, partner-
ships and collaborations within supply chain networks.
The data were complied and analysed using SPSS statis-
tical software; and being an exploratory research, analy-
ses were mostly frequency analysis of relevant of vari-
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Distribution of Respondents
Out of 450 que stionnaires that were dist ributed, 12 1 wer e
returned, with 112 valid responses, representing a 26.9%
response rate. Although low response rates can signifi-
cantly affect the accuracy of survey estimates [45], a
26.9% response rate although low, is in line with the
response rates reported in other postal surveys and stud-
ies [6,17, 46-48].
Table 1 below shows that 16 respondents were from
micro companies, 17 from small enterprises, 38 from
medium enterprises, and 41 from large enterprises. This
provided a very good mix as the survey aimed to obtain
views across the different sectors and enterprise sizes. It
could be seen that greater number of respondents was
from the construction industry. This can be attributed to
the high level of health and safety awareness creation
activities in the construction industry, which has led to
fewer inhibitions/scepticisms, making organisations to
open about their health and safety problems than organi-
sations in other sectors.
3.2. Implications of Level of Health and Safety
Table 2 below is the distribution of views on the impact
of poor health and safety standard on business image and
operations. About 108% or 94.7% of the 114 valid re-
sponses specified that poor health and safety perform-
ance impacts on their business operations, while 6 (5.3%)
felt it had no impact. A further 103 (92.0%) of 112 valid
responses felt that it had a negative impact on their busi-
ness image, while 9 (8.0%) felt that poor health and
safety does not impact negatively on their business im-
The findings presented in Table 2 are consistent with
observations that poor health and safety standard affect
the operations and image of businesses; and by implica-
tion their economic viability. Th ere is an ob serv ation th at
many organizations are becoming ever more cautious of
threats posed to their business operations by the health
Table 1. Distribution of respondents by business sector and
enterprise size.
Enterprise Size
Sector 1 - 9 10 - 49 50 - 249 250+ Total
Construction 3 7 14 14 38
Service 7 2 6 9 24
Manufacturing 3 5 11 9 28
Others 3 3 7 9 22
Total 16 17 38 41 112
Table 2. Impact of poor health and safety on image and
Impact on business
Impact on business
size Yes No Total Yes No Total
1 - 9 12 4 16 11 4 15
10 - 49 15 2 17 16 1 17
50 - 249 40 0 40 37 3 40
250 + 41 0 41 39 1 40
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
and safety performance of their customers [49]. For in-
stance, poor health and safety standards could lead to a
reduction in the number of contracts awarded to an or-
ganization by highly health and safety conscious organi-
zations, as these organizations recognize that there may
be increased costs as a result of compensations, exten-
sion of projects, as well as change in project plans due to
closures caused by accidents and ill health. To forestall
the negative effects of this, these organizations now take
proactive steps to ensure that problems with their bought-
in supplies or services do not affect their reputatio ns [23]
or operations. Thus, in view of increasing level of com-
petition among organizations, there is need for suppli-
ers/contractors to maintain a relatively good health and
safety record in order to remain on the preferred supplier
list of their customers.
The impact of health and safety standard on the image
and operations of an organization is further highlighted
by the fact that a poor safety standard leads to loss of
manpower while good health and safety standard lead s to
low staff turn-over (i.e., increased ability to retain staff,
and job satisfaction) [23]. The implication of this is that
poor health and safety standard leads to less manpower,
higher level of compensation, and reluctance by people
to work for an organization, shown to be indifferent to
the welfare (including health and safety) of its employees.
This corroborates the view that successful organizations
pay as much attention to health and safety management
as they do to other aspects of their business activities
As shown in Figure 1, it is evident that the p rotection
of image as a motivator is as important to SMEs as it is
to large organizations. Thus, an awareness of the cost
implications of poor health and safety standards as noted
in earlier works [51-55], becomes a motivation for im-
proved safety performance. This finding reinforces the
need for larger organizations to offer improvement sup-
port to their associates in order to protect themselves
from the negative impact of their safety performance as
suggested by [56] .
A non-parametric chi-square test (Table 3 below) was
carried out to establish if there was any relationship
among poor health and safety standards, the image and
operations of an organization. The large chi-square sta-
tistics of 91.26 (impact on business operations) and
78.89 (impact on business image) and the small signifi-
cance level (p < 0.001) indicate an unlikelihood that
these variables are independent of each other. Thus, a
relationship among the levels of safety standard, image
as well as operations of a business exists.
3.3. Access to Information
Table 4 below is a breakdown according to enterprise
size of responses on sources of information. This analy-
sis helps to establish those sources where organizations
can get help and information from. It also assesses the
advantages and limitations of these sources with a view
to determining the most effective way of commun icating
with organizations, especially SMEs, on health and safety
It is evident from Table 4 that a small percentage of
Enterprise size
Frequency of response
Small extent
Moderate extent
Great extent
Figure 1. Distribution of image protection as a motivator.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Table 3. Relationship among poor health and safety, busi-
ness operation and image.
Impact on business
operations Impact on business
Chi-Square (a,b) 91.263 78.893
Df 1 1
Asymp. Sig. 0.000 0.000
(a) 0 cells (0%) have expected frequencies less than 5. The minimum ex-
pected cell frequency is 57.0; (b) 0 cells (0%) have expected frequencies
less than 5. The minimum expected cell frequency is 56.0.
Table 4. Source of health and safety information.
Response by Enterprise s iz e (%)
Source of information 1 - 9 10 - 49 50 - 249250+
Trade Unions 6.7 0.0 15.0 19.5
HSE/Website 46.7 64.7 77.5 95.1
Health and safety journals 80.0 70.6 82.5 92.7
Local Authority 40.0 35.3 12.5 24.4
Industrial network/saf e t y
groups 40.0 47.1 80.0 92.7
Head office 6.7 0.0 17.5 36.6
micro and small businesses relied on trade unions as a
preferred source of information on health and safety; the
use of Trade Unions as a source of information increases
with enterprise size. This outcome is expected because
the peculiar nature of SMEs discourages trade unionism.
Also, observations from an earlier study [57] which
noted a limited success with this form of intervention,
rules this option out. Furthermore, the Safety Represen-
tatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (SRSC
Regulations 1977) of The Health and Safety at Work Act
1974, allowed only organizations with organized trade
unions to appoint health and safety representatives. Thus,
trade unions or to some extent employee pressure groups
cannot be relied upon to influence the attitude of the
management of organizations towards improvement in
its health and safety standard or performance, as the very
nature of SME does not encourage the formation of trade
A further examination of the data in Table 4 shows
that organizations use the Health and Safety Executive,
and its website, health and safety journ als, and industrial
network/safety groups as sources of information on
health and safety matters more than other sources. The
data suggest that fewer respondents preferred industrial
network and safety groups as sources of information than
the other two sources. However, as would be seen from
the discussions below on the inherent limitations to these
sources, industrial networ ks and safety group s could be a
better media for information dissemination.
Although a substantial number of SMEs use the Heal-
th and Safety Executive, its website, and Local Authori-
ties as sources of information, the data presented in Ta-
ble 4 above s how that th e prefer ence for th e use of thes e
sources, especially the HSE and its website, increases
with enterprise size. This is not surprising as findings
from literature portray SMEs as having higher rates of
accidents than larger enterprises [39,58,59]; amounting
to lower standard of health and safety in smaller enter-
prises compared to their larger counterparts [13,60]. Ob-
viously, the fear of being punished because of this high
level of accidents and poor health and safety standards/
records discourages SMEs (and indeed other organiza-
tions) from seeking advice and help from sources that are
perceived as having regulatory, and or enforcement po-
wers) [61,62]. Consequently, these sources (e.g. Health
and Safety Executive or Local Authorities) may neither
be suitable nor effective channels of preaching health
and safety improvement to organizations, especially
These limitations notwithstanding, it could still be ar-
gued that SMEs could rely on the information contained
in the Health and Safety Executive’s website (or infor-
mation gateway) for help, guidance and advice on health
and safety issues. While this argument seems compelling,
it has been observed variously that a high volume gate-
way information service has a minimal impact on the
intended recipients compared to an intensive advisory
system governed by mutual agreement between stake-
holders [63,64]. This implies that the websites of health
and safety regulators may not, after all, be the best way
to influence improved health and safety performance in
organizations, especially SMEs. Even in the circum-
stance that these SMEs are able to access needed infor-
mation from the health and safety regulators’ websites, it
is still doubtful if the small enterprise sector has enough
resources (personnel and otherwise) that would ensure
utilization of the information so accessed, to solving their
everyday business problems. In consideration of the fact
that these guidance materials have failed to address the
needs of businesses, there is a clear need to produce
more sector specific guidance, perhaps with co-operation
from professional representatives or trade bodies [65].
Again, in a survey carried out in the United Kingdom,
an overwhelming major ity (82%) of respondents felt that
they need ed more training on the use of the intern et [66].
Consequently, although information on health and safety
issues are readily available on the internet, it is still not
considered the most effective means of disseminating
health and safety information because so many people do
not yet know how to effectively use ICT equipment and
facilities. This view is substantiated by the result of an-
other survey which shows that although both social and
electronic networks were both important channels through
which SMEs can acquire knowledge, social networks
with their key customers’ or buying customers by or-
ganizations was preferred by SM Es [2 2 ] .
The reliance upon safety journals for information on
health and safety, although cited by many as a source of
information may not be as effective as it seems. For this
medium to produce the desired result, the person using it
should have a certain level of health and safety manage-
ment awareness. However, from Figure 2, it could be
seen that many SMEs cited lack knowledge of details
and implications of health and safety legislation, as well
as of complexity of h ealth and safety legislatio n as major
obstacles to the implementation of effective health and
safety management systems in their organizations. Thus,
a considerable level of outside h elp would be required by
small organizations for them to effectively interpret and
utilise the information contained in these journals. The
use of this source of information could also be affected
by lack of resources (human, and or financial), which is
also shown as a major constraint in Figure 2.
While the findings from this survey suggest that
sources of information (in increasing order of preference)
are industrial networks/safety groups, HSE/website, and
health and safety journals, the limitations of these sour-
ces are such that the use of industrial network/safety
group seems most effective. For instance, there is an ar-
gument that in order to engage SMEs to the level that
would guarantee the achievement of the level of im-
provement desired, there is a need to utilize those chan-
nels with which SMEs are already familiar with [20,21];
more so when it has been noted that SMEs regard social
networks as channels through which they can access im-
portant improvement information [22].
3.4. Strategies for Improving Health and Safety
Table 5 contains a breakdown of responses by organiza-
tions on their strategies for improving health and safety
in their supply chains, while Table 6 contains responses
on specific improvement activities implemented.
The findings in Table 5 suggest that many companies
either belonged to a network which encourages the ex-
change of best practices, or carried out activities that are
aimed at improving health and safety standards of their
suppliers. This claim is however contradicted by the re-
latively small number of companies that carry out ac-
tual supplier/network improvement initiatives as shown
in Table 6. This discrepancy could, perhaps, be ex-
plained by the fact that most companies do not have this
set down as an absolute requirement by their parent
companies. The implication of this finding is that there is
a need, not only for organizations to be interested in is-
sues that relate to the health and safety performance of
their suppliers, but also for a corporate mandate to en-
force it.
Thus, in order to benefit from the above, organizations
must be engaged in those activities listed on Table 6
which, unfortunately as shown by the level of positive
responses, leave much to be desired. There are inferences
from literature pointing to the i mportance of these activi-
ties, as the acquisition and development of knowledge
are determinants to successful business strategies [67].
Networks, partnerships, and collaborations are proven
sources of knowledge acquisition and dissemination; re-
Figure 2. Health and safety management constraints.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Table 5. Strategies for supply chain he alth and safe ty management.
Yes Total %
We rate health and safety performance as highly as cost 34 68 50.0
Interested in supply c hain improvement initiative 56 102 54.9
Educate our suppliers through written materials 37 67 55.2
Part of industry specific pa rtnership that shares good practice 68 111 61.3
We set health and safety criteria for our suppliers 44 67 65.7
Formal assessment of suppliers’ health and safety perfor mance 43 65 66.2
Informal assessment of suppliers’ health and safety performance 46 67 68.7
Part of network that share s go o d practice 86 110 78.2
Health and safety performance forms part of our sub-contract conditions 59 68 86.8
Table 6. Specific partnership improvement activities.
Yes Total %
We go into our suppliers’ com panies to help them improve health and safety 16 68 23.5
Benefited from improvement workshops and education from customers 26 109 23.9
Run workshops/sem i nars to educate our suppliers 21 67 31.3
Part of supply chain initiati v e i n v o l v ed in active dialogue with suppliers/stakeholder s 36 111 32.4
Have received guidance from customers 41 111 36.9
Interested in participation in supply chain improvem ent initiative 33 67 49.3
Communicate to suppliers our health and sa fety criteria for goods and se rvices we buy51 65 78.5
gular meetings and workshops among network members
increase the level, frequency of direct contact, as well as
know-how of stakeholders [68,69]. However, these meet-
ings and work shops will not produce the desired result if
there is no meaningful and effective communication be-
tween organizations, because communication has been
noted as playing a vital role in the sustenance of com-
petitive advantage by orga nizations [70-74].
3.5. Probable Improvement Strategy
An analysis of factors that motivate improvement in
health and safety standards in organizations shows that
SMEs are motivated more by the requirement or encour-
agement from their key customers than by the influence
of legislation (Figure 3 below).
This is in line with conclusions drawn from other
studies [75]. In a study on environmental supply chain
management, supply chain pressure was recognised as an
external influence/driving factor for environment man-
agement [46]. Similarly, the impact of customer influ-
ences has been attested to by small businesses in UK
who had achieved BS 5750 standard [76].
The utilisation of supply chain influences as an im-
provement strategy seems plausible as major clients are
known to have influenced the implementation of specific
improvement ideas by their suppliers, when compliance
with these requirements become pre-conditions to re-
maining on the list of preferred suppliers/contractors [17].
The implementation, monitoring and evaluation of im-
provement activities under the proposed strategy would
be easily and seamlessly integrated into existing com-
pany practices as large companies are known to have set,
and demanded adherence to certain requirements that
should be met by their suppliers [75]. It is also observed
that good practices could be cascaded from major clients
to suppliers [15]. There are instances where this stance
has influenced the performance in health and safety
management by suppliers [12,17]. Aside this requirement,
there is an observed need for larger enterprises to en-
courage and support HSM initiatives in SMEs as a way
of minimising the negative impact of accidents on an
entire business sector [56], because the competitive ad-
vantage of organizations is now dependent on the ability
to leverage on capabilities inherent in supply chains, as
competitions are now between entire value chains [77].
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
This paper has explored factors that deter SMEs from
effectively managing health and safety within their or-
ganizations. It should be noted that in spite of the role of
SMEs in the economic well-being of nations, there is still
very little literature on health and safety management in
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Figure 3. Comparison between legislation and requirement/encouragement as motivators.
SMEs. Although efforts have been made in the past to
improve the health and safety performance of SMEs,
these initiatives were ineffective. It suffices to note that
although there are many avenues through which organi-
zations can access information on health and safety, there
was however a reluctance by organizations (especially
SMEs) to approach health and safety regulators and go-
vernment agencies for help, out of a fear of being pun-
ished for poor health and safety performance. It was also
established that lack of resources, expertise, management
commitment, absence of perceived financial benefit, as
well as complex legislations affect both the desire by,
and ability of an organization to improve on its health
and safety standard. Despite these constraints, it is evi-
dent that while supply chain pressure was influential in
bringing about improvements in organizations, it was
practices such as collaborations and partnerships that en-
hance this. For instance, the survey results suggest that a
substantial number of organizations relied on industrial
networks for information and support on health and
safety matters.
Conclusively, the expressed desire by larger organiza-
tions to help their smaller business partners improve their
safety performances should be capitalised upon. None-
theless, it is equally important that steps are taken to en-
sure that this goes beyond a mere expression of intent;
activities capable of bringing about these desired im-
provements should be identified, developed and imple-
mented. These findings serve as further justification of
the need to bring larger and smaller companies together
in collaborative ventures aimed at improving their com-
petitiveness. To these end, if larger organizations are as
concerned about their images and reputations as the
finding from this study shows, then they show a greater
willingness to help their less capable and resource handi-
capped smaller business partners improve their opera-
tions, as a way of forestalling any ugly situation. This is
because the less capable organizations (mostly smaller
organizations) are more receptive to improvement ideas
recommended to them, or demanded by their bigger as-
sociates for fear of losing out on contracts.
Since this work is exploratory, further work is needed
to fully ascertain the effectiveness of using the supply
chain pressure to drive forward safety improvement ini-
tiatives in SMEs and to douse the fears entertained by
larger firms on the feasibility of this strategy. While this
fear by businesses is appreciated, it is dwarfed by the fact
that knowledge acquisition bestows certain level of com-
petitive advantage to members of a supply chain; and the
ability to absorb and transfer knowledge affords advan-
tages that exceed any result from cost saving strategies
alone. This work can be further extended through the
development of a re-strateg isin g (supply ch ain health and
safety improvement) framework.
5. References
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[2] EIM, “Health and Safety at Work,” EIM Business &
Policy Research, Zoetermeer, 1998.
[3] European Commission, “A Self-Evaluation Handbook for
SMEs,” Office for Official Publications of the European
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Section A: About the company
A.1. What is the name of your business? __________________ (Optional)
A.2. How many employees does your business have? (if 250 and above, please also complete sections G and H)
No of Employees Full Time
1 - 9
10 - 49
50 - 249
250 and above
A.3. To which of these industries does your business belong?
Agriculture Extractive & utility supply
Construction Manufacturing
Service Others
Section B: Health and safety management awareness
B.1. Do you think that poor health and safety record could impact on your
Yes No
Business Operations
Business Image
Please describe
B.2. Do you have an appointed health and safety representative in your company?Yes No
B.3. What percentage of the total working week of the person in (B.2.) above is spent on Health & Safety management duties?
0% - 9% 50% - 89%
10% - 49% 90% - 100%
B.4. Who else is involved in your company’s health and safety management?
Senior Management External Consultants
Heal th and Safety Committee Trade Unions
Industrial Network Others____________________
B.5. How many lost time accidents have you had in the past 12 months? ______
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
B.6. Who enforces Health and Safety in your business sector?
Health and Safety Executiv e (HSE)
Local Authority’s Environmental Health Department
Don’t know
B.7. Have you ever been visited by a health and safety enforcement officer? No
If “Yes”, what was the purpose of the visit?
Routine inspection Accident/incident investigation
Complaint investigation Advice
B.8. What was the outcome of the visit?
Improvement notice Prohibition notice Prosecution
Formal caution Verbal/written advice Other
B.9. Which of the following Health and Safety legislation are you aware of that affects your business? (Please tick applicable box or
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous
Occurrences Regulations
Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations Noise at Work Regulations
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations Electricity at Work Regulations
Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regula-
tions 2002 (COSHH)
Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulati ons Chemicals (Hazard Informatio n and Packaging for
Supply) Regulations
Manual Handling Operations R e gu l a ti o n s Construction (Design and Management) Regulations
Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations
The Health and Safety Information for Em pl oyees
Regulations Control of Majo r Accident Hazards Regulations
Employers’ Liab ility (Compulsory Insurance) Act Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere s
B.10. Which of the following do you have in place for managing health and safety in your company? (Please tick all applicable or
Written policy statement Safety audit system
Risk assessment Conducted by your company’s personnel
Conducted by a Consultant
Training programmes Health surveillance
Accident/Incident reporting procedures Written safe wor king procedures
Permit to work Incentive schemes
None of these
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. OJSST
B.11. How do you keep informed on Health and Safety issues and regulations?
Trade Unions Local Authority
Health and Safety Executive/Web site Industrial ne two rk/safety groups
Health and safety journals Head office
Section C: General heal th a nd s af ety policy
Yes No
C.1. Do you have a formal health and safety policy that describes roles and responsi bilities?
C.2. Do you have a policy that requires written accident/incident reports (injuries, property
damages, near misses, fires, explosions, etc.)?
C.3. Do you conduct accident/incident investigations?
C.4. Do you document, invest i gate, and discuss near miss accidents?