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.