Comparing safe Management of Hazardous chemicals in micro enterprises from Cyprus, Greece and Romania- Measuring the safety performance of Micro Enterprises in Cyprus and Greece.
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The work introduced in this thesis is an approach to investigate for the first time in the existing literature to date the safety standing and performance of Micro enterprises, the smallest sized as characterized by the number of their employees, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) when it comes to the safe storing, handling, use and management in general of potentially hazardous chemical substances. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the views of the employees and the owner/managers regarding the proper handling of chemicals in their Micro SMEs working environment of daily business activities and, also to measure with the help of Labor Inspectors or dedicated professional, external Health and Safety Auditors the safety performance of the Micro enterprises’ settings in the way these companies are doing their business while using and/or producing the chemical substances they need for that in a correct and harmless way. In this pursuit a great number of previous efforts of work was studied that was primarily focused on Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises and not on Micro enterprises per se, due to the gap in the available research to date on Micro firms compared to SMEs in general. Consequently, an extensive and exhaustive literature review is introduced in the next pages, highlighting all the important aspects that are playing a role in an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) framework and are critical for the sector of the potential hazardous chemical substances that a wide variety of Micro enterprises are using every day. An initial simple method was implemented in order to gather genuine data from Micro SMEs from three (3) EU Member States, which after some comparative analysis, they introduced many differences in the safety behaviors of the three countries under exploration. As a further step, these newly acquired data helped with the examination and the testing of several hypotheses, which were structured based on the theoretical background as was available through the literature. These hypotheses were tested for two countries (2), out of the three (3) that were compared on an initial level, for reasons that are described in the next pages to follow. After the testing of the Hypotheses, the study followed a similar path to measure the safety performance of the Micro firms that participated in this research project, with some recent, yet geographically restricted research efforts to measure OSH and ergonomical issues in the environment of Micro SMEs. The philosophy was the same as far as the conception of the project was concerned, however it was adequately adapted to focus on and fully cover the aspects of chemicals’ safety. The Hierarchical Regression Analysis was adopted and performed, which gave a specific model, and the only one available to date, to measure safety performance in Micros using and/or producing chemicals as a part of their day-to-day business activities. This particular model was tested for the two EU Member States emphasizing that every country is going to show different responses when compared to any other country. All in all, this study, as already stated, aims to capture the chemical safety status of Micro enterprises in general and to provide a way for measuring safety performance for all these enterprises that are handling chemical products within a framework of health and safety standards.