Effectiveness of health and safety in small enterprises: a systematic review of quantitative evaluations of interventions

J Occup Rehabil. 2010 Jun;20(2):163-79. doi: 10.1007/s10926-009-9212-1.


Introduction: This systematic review was conducted to identify effective occupational health and safety interventions for small businesses.

Methods: The review focused on peer-reviewed intervention studies conducted in small businesses with 100 or fewer employees, that were published in English and several other languages, and that were not limited by publication date. Multidisciplinary members of the review team identified relevant articles and assessed their quality. Studies assessed as medium or high quality had data extracted, which was then synthesized.

Results: Five studies were deemed of medium or high quality, and proceeded to data extraction and evidence synthesis. The types of interventions identified: a combination of training and safety audits; and a combination of engineering, training, safety audits, and a motivational component, showed a limited amount of evidence in improving safety outcomes. Overall, this evidence synthesis found a moderate level of evidence for intervention effectiveness, and found no evidence that any intervention had adverse effects.

Conclusions: Even though there were few studies that adequately evaluated small business intervention, several studies demonstrate that well-designed evaluations are possible with small businesses. While stronger levels of evidence are required to make recommendations, these interventions noted above were associated with positive changes in safety-related attitudes and beliefs and workplace parties should be aware of them.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Workplace*