Table of Contents

Regulating Workplace Risks

Regulating Workplace Risks

A Comparative Study of Inspection Regimes in Times of Change

David Walters, Richard Johnstone, Kaj Frick, Michael Quinlan, Geneviève Baril-Gingras and Annie Thébaud-Mony

It examines the implications of the shift from specification to process based regulation, in which attention has been increasingly directed to the means of managing OHS more systematically at a time in which a major restructuring of work has occurred in response to the globalised economy. These changes provide both the context and material for a wider discussion of the nature of regulation and regulatory inspection and their role in protecting the health, safety and well-being of workers in advanced market economies.

Chapter 9: Inspection of Health and Safety Management in the UK: Current Realities

David Walters, Richard Johnstone, Kaj Frick, Michael Quinlan, Geneviève Baril-Gingras and Annie Thébaud-Mony

Subjects: business and management, human resource management


This chapter focuses on the evidence of current practice of inspection of health and safety management by the world’s oldest regulatory inspectorate for health and safety at work. Drawing on published sources of research into the role of regulation and regulatory inspection in the UK it presents a profile of the current British situation with regard to the strategies adopted by the lead regulatory authority, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in response to policy drivers from governance during the past decade. It is concerned with the ways in which the regulator has attempted to come to terms with the requirements of these wider policies and, in particular, the impact of (largely neo-liberal) current political influences upon its embedded strategies of inspection. In so doing the chapter questions whether a focus on regulating OHS management (OHSM) can really be claimed to be central to current regulatory policy priorities in the UK. POLICIES AND PRACTICE IN REGULATING OHSM The HSW Act was an early attempt at ‘regulating self-regulation’ of health and safety in the UK. Its implementation was predicated on notions of a management systems approach, which as time passed have crystallized around guidance in the HSE publication ‘Successful Health and Safety Management’ (HS(G)65) (HSE 1997), discussed in Chapter 8. Although emphasis on systematic OHSM has found its way into EU requirements also implemented in UK regulations, as argued in Chapter 8, the British approach has nevertheless largely retained its essentially voluntary character with a strong emphasis...

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