A comparative analysis of English and Italian occupational health and safety enforcement policies

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research study aims to analyse and compare the policies adopted to enforce occupational health and safety regulations by the English and Italian enforcement institutions. The objectives of the study are to a) analyse and compare how English and Italian occupational health and safety enforcement (OHSE) officers perceive, interpret and appreciate discretionary enforcement practices, b) understand the extent to which resources affect English and Italian health and safety enforcement officers’ activities and the criminal justice system’s response to health and safety crimes, and c) understand how English and Italian OHSE officers perceive the attitude and responses of employers, government, judiciary and media towards their work and occupational health and safety crimes. The method used to conduct the research fieldwork seeks to explore the subject area through qualitative, semi-structured interviews with front-line enforcement officers, and data analysed with thematic Framework theory. The comparative nature of the work represents one of its main contributions to knowledge. The analysis shows that permitting discretionary practices, which is allowed but managed in England and prohibited in Italy, might empower enforcement officers excessively. Discretion helps officers and the agency to choose the best policy to achieve compliance, but also the best for their own interests. The analysis also shows that enforcement activities are affected by resources. However, while in England enforcement policies are more easily affected by resources, in Italy resources are more often decided according to the enforcement policies used. The Italian system places greater emphasis on the protections of workers’ civil rights. Lastly, the study discovers that the attitude of employers, government, the judiciary and media towards health and safety can have profound effects on the decisions taken by the enforcement officers and institutions. In particular, it emerges that inspectors are affected mostly by governmental and media influences.
    Date of Award11 Sept 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • London South Bank University
    SupervisorRoger Matthews (Supervisor), Gary Fooks (Supervisor), Marisa Silvestri (Supervisor), Shaminder Takhar (Supervisor), Matthew Bond (Supervisor) & Gary Potter (Supervisor)

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