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Strategies to develop and maintain occupational health and safety measures in small businesses employing immigrant workers in metropolitan Montreal

Sylvie Gravel (Department of Organization and Human Resources, School of Management, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Jacques Rhéaume (Department of Social and Public Communication, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Gabrielle Legendre (Organization and Human Resources, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 28 June 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

In large urban centres, immigrants are employed by businesses in which there is a high incidence of serious or fatal occupational injuries. This paper aims to present findings on the lack of knowledge and understanding in terms of: explanations for the implementation or lack of, procedures; technical expertise in prevention and the inability of the internal actors to implement changes.

Design/methodology/approach

A study design with a comparison group is used. The observation sample is comprised of 21 small businesses (SB), of which 16 meet the following criteria: the enterprise had fewer than 50 employees; and at least 25 per cent of the workers were born outside the country. The other five serve as a comparison group; the only difference in these SB is that they employ fewer (<25 per cent) immigrant workers.

Findings

The findings indicate that SB employing immigrants have totally or partially failed to implement health and safety management in area of occupational health and safety.

Practical implications

Implementation of safety management is impeded by numerous factors, including a partial or biased understanding, from managers and workers, on occupational health and safety rules. Democratic participation is to be encouraged so that management and workers get more involved in actual prevention strategies implementing health and safety measures.

Social implications

Active participation of workers in workplace is essential in global health improvement, as related by Armataya Sen on concept of “substantial freedom”.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on health and safety management in SB employing immigrants

Keywords

Citation

Gravel, S., Rhéaume, J. and Legendre, G. (2011), "Strategies to develop and maintain occupational health and safety measures in small businesses employing immigrant workers in metropolitan Montreal", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 164-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538351111143321

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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