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occupational health and safety regulation, labour law, worker rights, regulatory enforcement, political economy


The chapter provides a broad overview of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation in advanced capitalist countries with a focus on the English-speaking world. It views OHS regulation through a political economy lens in which protective legislation is enacted and implemented against the imperative of a profit-driven system of production. The chapter provide examines the historical development of OHS regulation beginning with the rise of industrial capitalism leading up to modern OHS regimes that increasing embrace mandated partial self regulation. It then considers contemporary debates over the efficacy of these regimes, focusing on the scope of self regulation, the practice of enforcement and the role of worker participation rights. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the changing world of work and the regulatory challenges it poses.


forthcoming in Guy Davidov, Brian Langille and Gillian Lester, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Law of Work (New York: Oxford University Press)