Regulating Workplace Risks
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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.
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Chapter 3: The Development of Regulatory Inspection of Health and Safety at Work

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


INTRODUCTION In most countries, the OHS statute establishes an OHS inspectorate, and vests it with broad powers to enter and inspect health and safety in workplaces. Its powers further include the capacity to impose administrative sanctions and to prosecute OHS offences in the criminal courts. As we shall see in later chapters there are variations in the detail of such powers and the means with which they are administered, as there are in the penalties for those found guilty of transgressions in different countries. More significant in the relationship between OHS management (OHSM) and inspection is the broad discretion that inspectors in Europe, Canada and Australia have as to the enforcement action they will take when contraventions are detected. This chapter explores the development of regulatory inspection internationally, with a particular interest in the countries that are the focus of our detailed analysis in subsequent chapters. Its aim is to present a general understanding, based on previous studies, of how and why inspectorates frame their tasks in the ways they do and how they use their broad discretion in seeking compliance with the health and safety measures they are charged with enforcing. To do so we outline the historical development of inspection across the five countries with which this book is concerned. We review the analysis presented in previous studies and identify both common and divergent patterns in the comparative development of inspection and the thinking behind it as well as the reasons that have been proposed to explain...

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