Small businesses are faced with barriers when it comes to safety and health management. Unlike larger companies, they may not have the expertise or resources necessary to build effective programs. The goal of this study is to gather information about what motivates small businesses to implement safety & health management systems and identify any issues/barriers that are unique to small-sized companies. Members of the Voluntary Protection Program Participants Association (VPPPA) and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) were selected for the survey because they have already been through the process of implementing safety & health management systems and possess a wealth of information on what it takes to build and run a successful safety & health management system in a small business. Unfortunately, there were problems getting access to accurate and up–to-date contact information for VPP and SHARP members. However, those companies who did participate provided similar responses to the research questions. Their main motivators in pursuing VPP or SHARP were to reduce injuries and lower worker’s compensation rates. Emphasizing the return on investment in safety and health is an effective driver for small businesses. The primary concern with implementation was the amount of time and paperwork. Also, with fewer employees, it can be difficult to meet the employee participation requirements for VPP because there is no safety expert; safety is delegated to those who have job duties in addition to safety and health. Compliance, the foundation of a good safety and health management system, is a large hurdle in itself for small business.

Publication Date



Posted on the RIT OSHA website http://www.rit.edu/~outreach/osha.php3 and reviewed by OSHA as well as presented at the WNYAWMA conferencein Feb.2005. This material was produced under grant number 46B3-HT11 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CAST)


RIT – Main Campus