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Improving Occupational Safety and Health in micro and small enterprises


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Presentation for OSH experts

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Improving Occupational Safety and Health in micro and small enterprises

  1. 1. Safety and health at work is everyone’s concern. It’s good for you. It’s good for business. Improving Occupational Safety and Health in micro and small enterprises (OSH experts)
  2. 2. 2 Structure of the presentation 1. The SESAME project 2. Why look at OSH in MSE? 3. Recent policy developments 4. Understanding MSEs, their owner-managers and workers 5. What works for whom and in what circumstances 6. Policy pointers and conclusions
  3. 3. 3 1. The SESAME project (2014-2017) 4 phases: 1. ‘State of play’: critical review of the current research, new trends and challenges, identification of knowledge gaps; focused analysis of the ESENER-2 survey 2. ‘View of the workplace’: contextualised understanding of the diversity in OSH practices, processes and mechanisms of MSEs in Europe: 162 case studies 3. ‘Policies, strategies, instruments and tools’: collecting 44 good practices from 12 different regulatory contexts with a high learning potential and understanding the mechanisms of regulation and governance 4. ‘Final analysis’: key findings and policy pointers for more efficient policy programmes and support instruments Strong EU comparative dimension involving 9 EU countries (BE, DE, DK, EE, FR, IT, SE, RO, UK) Objectives: - State of the current knowledge - View from the workplace - Effective means for improvement Focus on Micro and Small Enterprises: 5 to 49 employees
  4. 4. 4 1. The SESAME project: specific added value  A strong consideration of the socio-economic and regulatory context  A prominent attention for the workers’ perspective  An acknowledgement of the heterogeneity of MSE; • the diversity of their practices and needs • the consequences of these on the design requirements of strategies and instruments
  5. 5. 5 2. Why look at OSH in MSE? But MSE also have a social value! Table: SME and large enterprises: number of enterprises, employment, and value added in 2016 in the EU-28 non-financial business sector Source: European Commission, Annual Report on SME 2016-2017
  6. 6. 6 2. Why look at OSH in MSE? Persisting higher risks in MSE in the EU  more occupational deaths and serious injuries in smaller companies.  death caused by occupational accidents is decreasing, but this is not the case for mortality and morbidity caused by work related exposures (of which reliable sources for MSE are lacking).  many studies report poorer work environment and working conditions in MSE Prevalence of OSH-arrangements according to size (EU 28, source: ESENER 2014)
  7. 7. 7 2. Why look at OSH in MSE? A persistent and growing structural vulnerability  The “fissured workplace” in a global economy (Weil): • Activities are increasingly distributed in complex value chains and networks of contracting, outsourcing, franchising and ownership • MSE are prone to be situated in dependent and less powerful positions in these networks • Risks and costs are shifted by larger companies to the smaller, both upstream and downstream • This causes pressure on working conditions and growth of precarious work • There is a growing blurring about who precisely determines key dimensions of the employment relation, such as wages, working times, work environment and OSH conditions: is it the employer or the customer?
  8. 8. 8 2. Why look at OSH in MSE? The high road  Searching and finding niche markets  Developing a stable customer base  Maintaining a committed and loyal staff  Adjusting to new conditions with agility The low road  Working long hours  Keeping costs down  Agreeing to even poorer sales conditions  Squeezing employee conditions  Accepting low personal income Most small firms caught between both The business strategy dilemma of MSE
  9. 9. 9 3. Recent policy developments Growing interest • In all countries • among policy makers; regulators, social partners and others • There is more knowledge on OSH in MSE • Key policies at the EU-level: • The EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014– 2020 • The European Pillar of Social Rights • Communication of the EC on Modernisation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health Legislation and Policy • EU-OSHA priorities (OIRA, SESAME-project) Concerns • Economic orthodoxy, austerity and retreat of public government may limit investments in regulation • A political context favouring lifting the regulatory burden for businesses in view of enhancing competitiveness • General decline in resources for inspection eroding public regulation and enforcement • Still overall low priority for MSEs in terms of inspection and support
  10. 10. 10 4. Better understanding MSE and OSH The good news  Owner-managers want to be decent employers and take care of employees  They listen to peers, customers and employees  They are solution and action oriented  They are open to achieving an ‘acceptable work environment’ The bad news  OSH a minor task among many more important ones  They underestimate risks and overestimate their knowledge and control  They don’t like interference with their business  Systematic risk assessment and OSH management are difficult to implement Good reasons for concern:  Higher risks and less resources for controlling them  More accidents and diseases compared to bigger firms
  11. 11. 11 4. Better understanding MSE and OSH: the workers’ perspective Shared perspectives:  Limited personal experience of accidents/illness  Social and spatial proximity  Informality – ad-hoc decisions  Shared company perspective  Development of ‘common sense’, difficult to refute Shift of responsibility to worker:  Strong socialisation  Failure to identify risks and how to manage these  Autonomy but also to choose unsafe solutions in view of performance and problemsolving  This becomes normalised practice and undermines formal OSH management A vulnerable workforce • Lower education and skills • Poor formal voice and representation • Precarious employment relations
  12. 12. 12 4. Better understanding MSE and OSH: typology  On top of differences explained by size, sector and national and regulatory contexts, MSE and their owner-managers differ markedly in their approach to risks and risk management Avoiders Reactors Learners OSH Neglect React to external pressure Actively look for knowledge Risk Unavoidable Unavoidable, but react when made aware Can be controlled Responsibility Mainly with workers Shared with workers With the employer
  13. 13. 13 4. Better understanding MSE and OSH: regulation and isomorphism  Isomorphism: the processes or structure of MSE are similar, as the result of imitation or independent development under similar constraints  MSE do not operate in a vacuum but are influenced by pressure of their environment: − “Coercive” pressure by state and market forces − “Normative” pressure by professional beliefs, associations,… − “Mimetic” pressure by peers: “we do like the others”  MSE are looking for the acceptable level of risk control: • “How much do we have to do in order to be accepted by workers, customers, authorities, peers and the local community?”
  14. 14. 14 4. Better understanding MSE and OSH: regulation and isomorphism
  15. 15. 15 5. What works: findings of policy analysis  Many examples of what works well • In terms of regulation, enforcement and support • Mainly voluntary programmes and tools used by the small group of learning MSE • Often pilot programmes are terminated due to lack of sustainable funding  But resources in all studied countries are too limited to reach out and make a difference to the great majority of MSE • Most MSE do not by themselves seek out information and take action on OSH  Even within the limited resources, efficiency can be improved through development and co-ordination of strategies • But more resources are needed to achieve a widespread impact
  16. 16. 16 5. What works: different roles and stakeholders The role of regulation and inspections  The main key is the standard established in regulation, backed by enforcement through inspections  Owner-managers pay attention to regulation • in spite of a traditional reservation towards authorities, they like to know what to do  Regulation is the foundation for the activities of other actors • social partners, peer organisations, advisory services as well as other actors  Frequent and personal (although costly), tangible and respectful inspections work best
  17. 17. 17 5. What works: different roles and stakeholders Trends with respect to the role of inspection  Great heterogeneity in approaches  Generalist (e.g. integrated with social inspection) versus specialist approaches (only OSH)  Trends: • Decline in resources • Reduction of regulatory burden aiming to enhance competitiveness • Risk-based approaches • Value-chain/multi-employer approaches • Greater emphasis to advisory role of inspection • Regulatory mixes and more coordination
  18. 18. 18 5. What works: different roles and stakeholders Peer organisations (intermediaries)  Owner-managers look to peers to assess what is both acceptable and do-able  Employer associations, craft guilds and business chambers have access to and trust from small business  Unions have access to and trust of workers and have a strong regulatory impact through representation • But they are not represented in MSE in most countries!  Advice and recommendations from peers are considered legitimate  Network groups and training activities (co)organised by peers are more likely to be considered relevant  The question is whether peer organisations have the necessary funding and interest? • In some countries peer organisations have low membership in MSE and give priority to larger enterprises
  19. 19. 19 5. What works: different roles and stakeholders Support systems (intermediaries)  Different countries have a wide variety of support systems • But in most countries they only reach a small fraction of MSE • Best reached with secure long-term funding from insurance  Advisory service & occupational health services • Varies from compulsory affiliation to market-based and voluntary • Most often encounter difficulties in reaching MSE as full payment is often too expensive • Often substandard quality due to limited resources  It works when it is low cost, tangible, tailored and personal
  20. 20. 20 5. What works: design criteria Tailor to sector and subsector • Strongly identify with the craft (carpenter, cleaner, hairdresser) • General advice on risk assessment and control which still needs translation to the (sub)sector does not work • Integrate in sector structure and culture, e.g.: • Supply chains in construction and cleaning • Safe handling of chainsaws in professional training of forestry workers • Patient safety in homes for the elderly • Fashion and risky dyes in hairdressing ‘how to’ - not ‘how to find out’ • Risk assessment • Possible in small enterprises – does not work well in micro firms • Tangible solutions • Demonstration of solutions such as new technology and aids (e.g. lifting gear) • Recommendation of solutions which work in practice (preferably through visits or peers) • Digital solutions may be more helpful with new digital generations • E.g. tailored apps (demonstrating how to carry out an actual piece of work)
  21. 21. 21 5. What works: design criteria Personal • Personal outreach and support • Personal inspection and advice which is tangible and respectful • Sector advisory systems e.g. regional OSH reps in Sweden and shared service in Denmark • Trusted persons (peers, networks, voluntary organisations, accountants) • Personal identity • Avoid direct criticism • Focus on future possibilities Low cost • Simple, practical and low cost solutions • Dissemination of tangible low cost solutions, e.g. ergonomic cleaning carts • Also through peer application proving it is cost-effective • Free or low-cost support • MSE don’t buy services • Compulsory funding through insurance Relate to business goals • Relate to the owner- manager’s drive to be a decent person • “What do I have to do in order to secure that I and my business get a good reputation in the local community?” • What do peers say and do about OSH • Integration in other management priorities • Market requirements • Supply chain mechanisms
  22. 22. 22 6. Pointers: a policy strategy for OSH improvements in micro and small enterprises Peer organisations Support systems Tailor to sector and subsector The societal expectations for a safe and healthy work environment (legislation) This is how we do business here (quality, effective and healthy) Relate to business goals Low cost Focus on how to do - not how to find out Personal Inspections (enforcement)
  23. 23. 23 6. Pointers to take away Orchestration in practice • Who to initiate coordination? • Most often authorities or sector organisations • Who to involve? • Authorities, employer associations, business organisations, labour unions, insurance companies, advisory bodies • Most often in a sector approach • Shared messages and coordinated actions key to influence • Trust, legitimacy and raise of acceptable risk level • The opposite results in paralysis of MSE • Need to secure long-term funding • Move from pilot project to sustainable policies and support Beyond traditional OSH policy programmes • The economic and business environment of MSE requires new approaches • Such as: • Regulation of responsibility in order to follow the economic power • Regulation of the supply chain • Basic rights for precarious workers • Community-based advisory system
  24. 24. 24 This presentation was made by: Monique Ramioul, HIVA-Research Institute for Work and Society, KU Leuven-Belgium Peter Hasle, Sustainable Production, Aalborg University Copenhagen-Denmark David Walters, Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre, Cardiff University-UK And is presented by: #Name Presenter#