Project: The limits of influence

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 21/01/2014, published on 25/07/2012 by IOSH, and peer reviewed by IOSH

This report presents an account of an empirical study of experiences of supply chain-mediated influences on health and safety practice and performance in the construction and shipping industries. It sets out to test a set of propositions concerning the conditions and contexts of these influences that was developed by two of its authors in a previous study. It is based on four case studies, two in each sector, each selected in order to examine situations in which supply chain relationships are likely to influence and support improved health and safety practices and performance. In each case, documentary evidence and qualitative data obtained from in-depth interviews have been analysed. These analyses are further supported by a review of the research literature on trends in the structure, organisation and regulation of work in the sectors and recent evidence concerning supply chain influences.

Findings confirm the previous propositions with respect to the conditions and contexts governing positive supply chain effects on health and safety practice. They draw attention to the influence of health and safety requirements at the procurement stage and in the choice of contractors, as well as to the role of support, monitoring and surveillance in ensuring compliance with these requirements. At the same time, they show that supply chain influences on health and safety vary both according to the business interests of the actors involved and the regulatory contexts in which they work, and that leverage in supply chain relationships is only one element in a constellation of influences acting in concert to raise occupational safety and health standards. In particular, there is no evidence in our study to suggest that such leverage acts effectively without regulation or regulatory inspection. However, the study does suggest that regulatory strategies need to become more attuned to exploiting the positive features of supply chain relationships.

www.iosh.co.uk/limits
Human factors & behavioural safety, Leadership, Occupational health & wellbeing
Construction, Other, Transport

Organisation: Cardiff University

College
Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre
59 Park Place,
Cardiff,
CF10 3AS,
UK
029 2087 4000

Principal Investigator: Professor David Walters

Other Researchers: Dr Emma Wadsworth

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Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
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