HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Breaking Safety Rules

There is an interesting new article concerning safety regulations and their increase in the wake of man-made diasters. As Professor Mascini reports this isn't necessarily always for the best.

"The Blameworthiness of Health and Safety Rule Violations"

Law & Policy, Vol. 27, pp. 472-490, July 2005

BY: PETER MASCINI

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of

Social Sciences

ABSTRACT:

Man-made disasters usually lead to the tightening of safety regulations, because rule breaking is seen as a major cause of them. This reaction is based on the assumptions that the safety rules are good and that the rule-breakers are wrong. The reasons the personnel of a coke factory gave for breaking rules raise doubt about the tenability of these assumptions. It is unlikely that this result would have been achieved on the basis of a disaster evaluation, or high-reliability theory. In both approaches, knowledge of the consequences of human conduct hinders an unprejudiced judgement about where the blame for rule breaking lies.

Document: Available from the SSRN Electronic Paper Collection:

http://papers.ssrn.com/paper.taf?abstract_id=740679

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2005/09/the_blameworthi.html

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