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Small enterprises - Accountants as occupational health and safety intermediaries

Hasle P, Bager B, Granerud L. Small enterprises - Accountants as occupational health and safety intermediaries. Safety Science 2010;48(3):404-9.
Date: 2010
Scientific Article
Small enterprises face serious occupational health and safety challenges. The occupational risks are high and resources to control the risks are low. There is an ongoing search for ways that authorities and professional bodies can efficiently reach out to small enterprises with preventive measures. It has been suggested in the literature that accountants could act as intermediaries on health and safety. A pilot project was carried out in Denmark to test this possibility. State-authorized accountants were invited to training seminars to give them the necessary health and safety knowledge to provide advice to small enterprises. 164 accountants participated in the seminars and 74 accountants replied to a follow up questionnaire about their experience of advising their small enterprise clients about health and safety. Most of the accountants had actually given health and safety advice and for most of them it was a positive experience. However, they also faced constraints due to the relatively minor role health and safety played in their agendas with their clients and their own limited knowledge about health and safety even after taking part in the training seminars. This study concludes that it is possible for accountants to act as health and safety intermediaries, but that institutional support for the training activities is important to secure a broader application of this approach.
Updated  30.10.2009
Contact: NRCWE web editors
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