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 8: Regulating Health and Safety Management, the Changing World of Work and Public Policy in the UK

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


INTRODUCTION Since the Robens Report (1972, 152) called for ‘a more effectively selfregulating system’, managing OHS has been a prominent feature of UK regulatory policy. Early efforts were implemented through the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (HSW Act) in the mid-1970s. They became more explicit in the early 1990s with the transposition of the EU Framework Directive 89/391, mainly in the form of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSW Regulations). With its creation under the HSW Act 1974, the peak regulatory inspectorate for health and safety at work in the UK, the Health and Safety Executive, carried forward the traditions of achieving compliance from duty-holders, traditions embedded within the Factory Inspectorate, which constitutes its largest component inspectorate. These approaches towards the practice of inspection, well documented in the literature,1 were in theory at least, ideally placed to support the implementation of processbased standards on managing health and safety. At the same time, during this period and continuing to the present time, the UK economy has been a testing ground for neo-liberal political and economic strategies, in which a political distaste for imposing ‘burdens on business’ and strategies to achieve reductions in public expenditure have been a combined influence on the development of regulatory policies. The impact of this combination on regulating systematic OHSM and the approach of inspectors to achieving compliance from duty-holders in a rapidly restructuring UK economy, is the focus of this chapter and the one that follows. This chapter...

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