5
Rules and Regulation

This and the following chapter consider how governmental rules can be designed and enforced, particularly in the sphere of regulation. The focus is on experience in regulating workplace health and safety but more general lessons will be drawn from the case study described. This chapter amounts to a description of how mistakes in rule design can occur. It looks at the evolution of the present system of regulating health and safety at work and notes especially the development of a particular approach to governmental rules. An assessment of that approach is offered. Chapter 6 examines the enforcement of health and safety regulation on the ground and considers the importance of rule-design in enforcement. It asks why it is that rules often fail to work, how effective rules can be designed, what it is that impedes the making of effective rules, and how securing compliance is linked to producing desired results. Finally, I consider how values other than efficiency can be reflected in designing rules.


1. The Evolution of a Regulatory System: Health and Safety at Work

The roots of the British system of health and safety regulation are to be found in the factories legislation of the Industrial Revolution.1It was the Factories Amendment Act of 1844 that first provided minimum safety standards, required the fencing of dangerous machinery, and provided for the compensation of accident victims. A series of factories statutes eventually led to a major work of consolidation in the Factories Act 1961. By this time the rules governing the area were highly fragmented

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1
See N. Gunningham, Safeguarding the Worker( 1984), ch. 4; P. Bartripand P. Fenn, "The Administration of Safety: The Enforcement Policy of the Early Factory Inspectorate 1844-1864" ( 1980) 58 Pub. Admin. A 87; W. G. Carson, "The Conventionalisation of Early Factory Crime"( 1979) 7 IUSL37-69.

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