Study: Smaller Workplaces Are Safer

Here's something you might consider before expanding your business.

A recent study examining more than 17,000 workplace deaths found that small, single-site businesses were among the least dangerous places to work.

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The study, conducted by the Kauffman-RAND Center for the Study of Small Business and Regulation, a non-profit research group based in Santa Monica, Calif., runs counter to the popular view that small workplaces are generally more hazardous than larger ones, researchers said.

In fact, small worksites with fewer than 20 employees operated by mid-sized companies — those with 20 to 999 employees that oversee multiple sites — were found to have up to five times the fatality rates of those of equal size operated by small or large companies, the study reported.

Similar patterns emerged across several industries, including manufacturing, transportation, public utilities, wholesale, and services.

One explanation, researchers said, may be that small-business owners are more likely to share the workplace with their employees.

"It seems plausible that an on-site owner might feel more responsible to try to avoid injuring workers than a hired manager would," John Mendeloff, a professor of public policy at the University of Pittsburg, said in a statement.

According to RAND, the results should justify easing costly regulatory measures for small businesses, which are currently forced to meet many of the same requirements as much larger companies.

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