Now recruiting!

We are currently looking to recruit a talented Research Assistant to work on this IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health)-funded research project investigating the public legitimacy of health and safety regulation since 1960. This is a one-year, full-time post (commencing January 2014) involving gathering empirical data, managing the research process, and collaborating on the production of research outputs.this should be a really interesting and exciting project to be invovled with, so if this appeals to you, please do get in touch!

The post will be based in the School of Law at the University of Reading, working alongside Professor Paul Almond and Dr Mike Esbester of the University of Portsmouth. For more details, please visit

Applications via

Closing date 25/11/2013

A first update

The project started in July 2013 and it is still very early days to be reporting on progress made! We are currently scoping out the available archival materials and historical resources that will be drawn on, as well as starting to review the available literature on concepts of legitimacy in a regulatory context. Work has begun on planning and recruiting for the interview stages of the project, and we are also presenting some preliminary observations on the project at conferences and public lectures in the next couple of months. This will allow us to start getting the project into the wider public sphere so that we can engage with, and address, some of the issues and debates that we hope to analyse!

Welcome to ‘The Changing Legitimacy of Health and Safety Regulation’

Welcome to the website for our new research project, ‘The Changing Legitimacy of Health and Safety Regulation’. This project is funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), and is being led by Professor Paul Almond (University of Reading) and Dr Mike Esbester (University of Portsmouth). It will be running from 2013-15, and we hope to use this blog site during that time to provide updates and information about progress and events related to it!

The project aims to investigate and understand the ways in which perceptions of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation have changed over time, particularly in terms of public attitudes and the perceived legitimacy of the law. While OHS regulation has a long history as a progressive social force, protecting and improving the welfare of workers, it is not always recognised or regarded as a force for good, at least in certain political, media, and public circles. Stories about ‘health and safety gone mad’ proliferate, and have also proved influential in shaping the direction of policy via the Young and Löfstedt reviews, among others. Our project aims to engage with a wide range of archival and historical material, including oral accounts provided by key individuals who have experienced or been involved in changes in the OHS sphere since 1960, to try and identify how far attitudes and perceptions have changed, and what factors might have driven this change.