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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Much of the research that has been carried out on occupational health and safety (OHS) involves studies of regulatory practices. OHS studies linearly maintain that early legislations were of minimal consequence. Implementation is a two-tier structure—policy-making and enforcement. This article considers the main themes and findings of this body of research. It is structured around a “natural history” approach to understanding law. This approach regards law as a process which starts with the recognition of a problem demanding legal intervention and the subsequent enactment of legislation. Several jurisdictions additionally encourage workers to join the enforcement procedure. Law being intrinsic to OHS, enforcement emerges as the key to explain its impact, while evidence suggests the role of sanctions on it. The article highlights areas that remain relatively uncharted and those that warrant more research.

Keywords: occupational health and safety, policy-making, enforcement, jurisdictions, legal intervention

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