Small workplaces present particular challenges for the promotion of occupational health and safety. However, little is known about the social organization of work in such settings and how it relates to matters of health and safety. The research on which this article is based relates patterns of occupational health behavior to the nature of social relationships within the workplace. From a qualitative analysis of interviews with 53 small business owners, the author describes the most common approach to managing workplace health and safety: leaving it up to the workers. This posture is explained in terms of the owners' perception of risk, particularly their understanding of workplace hazards, and their assessment of the social costs of ignoring or addressing such issues. Owners tended to discount or normalize health hazards, and to believe that management intervention in employee health behavior was paternalistic and inconsistent with prevailing patterns of labor relations and norms respecting individual autonomy. Many owners understood health and safety not as a bureaucratic function of management but as a personal moral enterprise in which they did not have legitimate authority. The conceptualization of the owners' responses in terms of "social rationality" has implications for addressing problems of health and safety in small workplaces.