University of Limerick
Newell_2014_workplace.pdf (1.72 MB)

Workplace health and safety: establishing the administrative burden of regulation, and assessing the use of information as a means of addressing the burden and improving perceptions

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posted on 2022-12-14, 15:43 authored by Áine Newell
Compliance with occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation requires a significant commitment in terms of time, money and personnel which is potentially difficult for many organisations who are struggling to survive in the current economic climate. The study initially evaluated the levels of OHS awareness and knowledge and established the OHS administrative burdens in small, medium and large organisations in Ireland. This was done by means of a questionnaire distributed to organisations nationally. The questionnaire identified that the completion of risk assessments, safety statements and OHS training were the most significant OHS administrative burdens in participating organisations. Online or electronic applications were identified by 88% of participants (n=180) as the preferred method of completion of OHS administrative activities. Small organisations (1-49 employees) have been identified as having greater difficulties with OHS legislative compliance than medium (50-249 employees) and large organisations (250+ employees). The responses obtained in the initial questionnaire (n=205) were used to develop an online tool, namely SME Safety, to assist in addressing the administrative burden posed by OHS regulation, specifically in small organisations. A four month trial of the online tool, SME Safety, took place in 77 small organisations across Ireland. Questionnaires were distributed to the organisations before and after the trial. The final responses indicated that the participants’ awareness of their OHS legal responsibilities, the risk assessment process and safety statements contents had increased significantly. Participants indicated that they would be more willing to allocate time and money to OHS following the trial of SME Safety and that they felt significantly more positive towards OHS. The findings highlight the potential value of an online OHS information tool, specifically tailored to small organisations, as a means of addressing the administrative burden of OHS regulation.



  • Faculty of Science and Engineering


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Davern, Peter

Second supervisor

Wixted, Fiona





Department or School

  • Chemical Sciences

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