HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

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


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of

Social Sciences


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:

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