Micro-management could save your life!

It's Small Business Week in the U.S. and who's watching out for safety?? You may not always like having your boss work beside you in a small business setting... but what if micromanaging could end up saving your life?!

A recent U.S. study found that businesses (fewer than 100 employees) that are managed by one or two owners who work alongside their workers at the same location suffer fewer fatalities than small worksites (fewer than 20 people at one spot) managed by medium-sized companies (100-500 total workers over different locations).

Now the bad news...

Accident rates remain higher at smaller worksites overall than at bigger ones - and that's a big deal since more than half of the private sector are small, even micro, businesses! That was another finding of the Small Businesses and Workplace Fatality Risk study, commissioned by the Kauffman-RAND Center for the Study of Small Business and Regulation.

OSHA offers many programs to small businesses at little or no cost, including a free on-site consultation program. The consultation will help you recognize hazards in the workplace and provide training for managers and employees alike.

As a small business owner, you also might want to check out the 2006 book, Workplace Safety: A Guide for Small and Midsized Companies. Accredited risk managers Dan Hopwood and Steve Thompson give you an overview of OSHA regulations in plain speak, with examples that you can easily apply to your own business.

Big biz mentoring small biz

And OSHA is not alone in government agencies reaching out to the little guy to keep his/her company safe. This week, the government of Singapore announced help for that nation's 130,000 small and medium-sized enterprises to comply with workplace safety and health regulations.

Since Singapore's new law on workplace safety and health came into effect two years ago, the number of work-related fatalities has fallen by more than a third - from 4.9 per 100,000 workers in 2004 to 3.1 last year.

The 10-year plan offers certification to recognize the efforts of small businesses, a mentoring scheme for them with larger companies, and funding to defray the costs of mandatory workplace risk assessments. The fund, started last year, used to be offered only to factories, construction and shipyards - but now it applies to all businesses, regardless of size or function.

So whether you run a Web design firm out of your basement, a five-person PR firm with a telecommuting set-up, or a 50-person printing retail shop.... safety is becoming a funded, officially supported concern of yours, too!

Size doesn't matter - well, at least not when it comes to safety ;)

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