Small enterprises have fewer resources, are more financially precarious, and have higher rates of occupational injury and illness compared with larger enterprises. Interventions that address the promotion of health and well-being in addition to traditional occupational safety and health hazards, a Total Worker Health® (TWH) approach, may be effective in reducing injuries and preventing illness. However, little research has examined the impact of TWH interventions in small enterprises. The aim of this research was to explore and characterize health and safety practices, policies, and programs in small Midwestern enterprises from a TWH perspective. Utilizing a case studies approach, site visits were conducted with small business, between 10 and 250 employees, from 2014 through 2016 and included workplace audits and interviews with multiple employees in varying roles within each organization. Both open and closed coding were used to identify specific themes. Eight themes emerged from the site visits: Value and return on investment, organizational factors, program design, engaging employees, low-cost strategies, evaluation, and integration. These themes overlapped with both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Essential Elements of TWH and the NIOSH Fundamentals. Industry sector and enterprise size also affect resources and integration of these resources. As TWH expands to organizations of all sizes, it is necessary to address the unique needs of smaller enterprises.
- occupational safety
- small business
- total worker health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health