Occupational health and safety legislation: what else is needed?


  • Ian Campbell




If regulation is to be effective, not only must changes take place in the mode of regulation but also the concepts held by many in management ranks. Misconceptions often abound which, it is suggested, stem from a lack of appreciation of accident causation, the part that the management system plays or a tendency to blame the victim. Thus, too much attention continues to be paid to operator error, whereas in reality, it is frequently the organization that has failed. However, when management recognizes the pivotal role of the system, and makes greater use of quality control methods, the way will be open for the inspectorate also to be more innovative. They will then be initially auditors of the management of the occupational health and safety policy. Without that change the enforcers will, of necessity, continue to be searchers for violations and investigators after the event. It is also likely that the health hazards of the working environment will continue to be given inadequate attention. With the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill into Parliament in 1990, followed by a change of government bringing its new agenda and thus casting an ominous shadow of concern, such factors assume a greater degree of importance.


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