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Components of an Occupational Safety and Health Communication Research Strategy for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    30212881
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6376316
  • Description:
    The majority of the global labor force works in firms with fewer than 50 employees; firms with fewer than 250 employees make up 99% of workplaces. Even so, the lack of extensive or comprehensive research has failed to focus on occupational safety and health communication to these small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Given that the magnitude of all occupational safety and health (OSH) morbidity, mortality, and injury disproportionately occurs in businesses with fewer than 250 employees, efforts to communicate with employers to engage in preventative occupational safety and health efforts merit attention. This article provides an overview of important components that should be considered in developing an occupational safety and health (OSH) communication research strategy targeting SMEs. Such a strategy should raise awareness about the diversity and complexity of SMEs and the challenges of targeting OSH communication toward this diverse group. Companies of differing sizes (e.g. 5, 50, 500 employees) likely require differing communication approaches. Communication strategies will benefit from deconstructing the term 'small business' into smaller, more homogenous categories that might require approaches. Theory-based research assessing barriers, message content, channels, reach, reception, motivation, and intention to act serve as the foundation for developing a comprehensive research framework. Attention to this type of research by investigators is warranted and should be encouraged and supported. There would also be value in developing national and international strategies for research on communication with small businesses.

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