Hard Work in Soft Regulation: A Discussion of the Social Mechanisms in OHS Management Standards and Possible Dilemmas in the Regulation of Psychosocial Work Environment
AbstractCertified occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems have become a global instrument in regulation of the work environment. However, their actual impact on OHS—in particular on softer psychosocial issues in the work environment—has been questioned. The most important standard of OHS management is OHSAS 18001, which has recently been supplemented with a British publically available guideline (PAS 1010) focusing specifically on psychosocial risk management. On the basis of the international literature on management standards, the present paper analyses OHSAS 18001 and PAS 1010 in order to understand the mechanism by which they work. The paper takes a social constructionist approach conceptualizing standards and their expected mechanisms as socially constructed—based on a particular kind of knowledge and logic—although they are presented as objective. Such a constructionist approach also emphasizes how standards transform specific work environment problems into generic procedures that can be audited. In the case of OHS standards, both the work environment in general and the psychosocial risks in particular are transformed into simple monocausal auditable relations whereby the complexity of psychosocial work environment issues seems to disappear. The new PAS 1010 guideline, which is particularly focusing on regulation of the psychosocial work environment, only partly succeeds in solving these shortcomings of OHSAS 18001.
Copyright (c) 2014 Author and Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Copyright Holder of this Journal is the authors and the Journal. This Journal gives Open Access with CreativeCommons license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
You can download all the content of the Journal and share it with others as long as you credit the authors and the journal, but you can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
More specifically this license means that you – authors and users – may:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form as long as you follow the license terms. The freedom to share includes parallel publishing on authors’ own website and in institutional repositories or in ResearchGate after publication in NJWLS, or if you want to reprint your article as part of publication of a PhD-thesis or a dissertation
You may share under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license. Appropriate credit implies that you provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. The link used should be its DOI.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Merely changing the format never creates a derivative.
Exceptions to the license terms may be granted
If you want to use content in the Journal in another way then described by this license, you must contact the licensor and ask for permission. Contact Bo Carstens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exceptions are always given for specific purposes and specific content only.
The Journal is listed as a blue journal in Sherpa/Romeo, meaning that the author can archive post-print ((ie final draft post-refereeing) and author can archive publisher's version/PDF.
Copyright of others
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.
All published material is archived at Roskilde University Library, Denmark, and transmitted to the Danish Royal Library in conformity with the Danish rules of legal deposit.
We do not screen articles for plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the authors to make sure they do not plagiate.