Data collection was divided into two main stages. The first and major phase comprised a period from December 1983 to March 1985 when I accompanied officials from each inspectorate. Observation was therefore the dominant method of investigation.1 Members of the Board of Chief Inspectors' Secretariat of HSE and senior members of the inspectorates researched were very helpful in providing information and advice which informed the selection of a research sample.
Four FI areas were included in the study, selected according to three criteria. The first was to select offices in different areas of England and Wales2 to include locations with different economic profiles. In particular, it was decided to select areas with different levels of unemployment and different experience of the closure of industries. The second criterion was in some respects related to the first, namely the type of industry to be found in each area. Attention was paid to including wellestablished, 'traditional' industries and the 'new', 'high-tech' industries, as well as incorporating heavy, manual, and light precision industries. So the sample covered industry groups which had responsibility for activities as diverse as iron-and-steel making and construction on the one hand and precision engineering and chemicals on the other. One consequence of this selection procedure was the inclusion of firms of varying size, from the small back-street enterprise employing just one or two people to the large, multi-national corporation, employing thousands.
The third main criterion for the selection of FI areas centred upon their enforcement activity, in particular their apparent readiness to resort to legal action. Figures detailing the number of prosecutions initiated____________________