Help for Small BusinessesPosted on by
New businesses start with an idea, an opportunity, and a problem to solve. The path to profitability crystalizes as a business plan emerges. Then come the paperwork and licensing. New business owners must attend to innumerable tasks: negotiate with suppliers, trim costs, manage employees, push for revenue, secure capital, deliver to clients, and navigate regulations. Consistently listed among their top three challenges is meeting government regulations (along with attracting new customers and facing economic issues) [Wells Fargo 2015].
These countless details can be numbing. Safety and health considerations can fall to the wayside. The unfortunate fact is that on-the-job fatalities or injuries are most likely to occur in the smallest and newest businesses [Cunningham et al. 2014]. And workplace injuries early in the life of a business can significantly reduce its chance of survival [Headd 2010].
Although most small business owners are not safety experts, we recognize that many have a safe, healthy work environment and turn a neat profit. We know that they often rely on third-party expertise and receive incentives from insurance providers, lenders, and others to provide a safe workplace. To contribute to this effort, NIOSH has updated its Small Business Resource Guide with online tools and information from across the Web.
If you operate or work in a small business, let us know what safety and health resources you find most helpful? What do you do in your company to limit liability? Your feedback could help save a life.
Garrett Burnett, MS, MBA, is a health communications fellow in the NIOSH Communications and Research Translation Office and the assistant coordinator for the NIOSH Small Business Assistance and Outreach Program.
Thomas Cunningham, PhD, is a behavioral scientist in the NIOSH Education and Information Division and the coordinator for the NIOSH Small Business Assistance and Outreach Program.
Cunningham TR, Sinclair R, Schulte P . Better understanding the small business construct to advance research on delivering workplace health and safety. International Journal of Small Enterprise Research 21(2):148–160.
Headd B . An analysis of small business and jobs. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration.
Wells Fargo . Small Business Survey Topline. Gallup Topline, Quarter 3, 2015, https://wellsfargoworks.com/File/Index/btDsu4gv9UqK07hpFKVbgw.