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

Pernille Hohnen, Peter Hasle, Anne Helbo Jespersen, Christian Uhrenholdt Madsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Certified occupational health and safety management (OHSM) systems have become a global instrument in the regulation of work environment (Frick and Wren 2000; Gallagher et al. 2001, Rocha 2010; Robson et al 2007). However, their actual impact on occupational health and safety – in particular on ‘softer’ psychosocial areas of the working environment – has been questioned (Hohnen & Hasle 2011; Walters and Frick 2000; Hasle & Zwetsloot 2011). This has resulted in recent British attempts to develop new publically available guidelines (PAS 1010) to be used together with OHSAS 18001 focusing specifically on psychosocial risk management attempting to guide and control not only management systems and related procedures but also the concrete work domain in which psychosocial risks are produced, experienced and monitored (Leka 2011). Based on an analysis of OHSAS 18001 and PAS 1010 the present paper analyses these attempts and discusses why the new guidelines – particularly focusing on regulating the psychosocial working environment – only partly succeed in solving the shortcomings of OHSAS 18001. The paper shows how the problems of addressing contemporary complex and psychosocial working environment issues are related to general social regulatory mechanisms in international standards.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Working Life Studies
Volume4
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)13-30
Number of pages17
ISSN2245-0157
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2014

Cite this

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title = "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",
abstract = "Certified occupational health and safety management (OHSM) systems have become a global instrument in the regulation of work environment (Frick and Wren 2000; Gallagher et al. 2001, Rocha 2010; Robson et al 2007). However, their actual impact on occupational health and safety – in particular on ‘softer’ psychosocial areas of the working environment – has been questioned (Hohnen & Hasle 2011; Walters and Frick 2000; Hasle & Zwetsloot 2011). This has resulted in recent British attempts to develop new publically available guidelines (PAS 1010) to be used together with OHSAS 18001 focusing specifically on psychosocial risk management attempting to guide and control not only management systems and related procedures but also the concrete work domain in which psychosocial risks are produced, experienced and monitored (Leka 2011). Based on an analysis of OHSAS 18001 and PAS 1010 the present paper analyses these attempts and discusses why the new guidelines – particularly focusing on regulating the psychosocial working environment – only partly succeed in solving the shortcomings of OHSAS 18001. The paper shows how the problems of addressing contemporary complex and psychosocial working environment issues are related to general social regulatory mechanisms in international standards.",
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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. / Hohnen, Pernille; Hasle, Peter; Helbo Jespersen, Anne ; Madsen, Christian Uhrenholdt.

In: Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, Vol. 4, No. 3, 12.09.2014, p. 13-30.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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T2 - A discussion of the social mechanisms in OHS management standards and possible dilemmas in the regulation of psychosocial work environment

AU - Hohnen, Pernille

AU - Hasle, Peter

AU - Helbo Jespersen, Anne

AU - Madsen, Christian Uhrenholdt

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AB - Certified occupational health and safety management (OHSM) systems have become a global instrument in the regulation of work environment (Frick and Wren 2000; Gallagher et al. 2001, Rocha 2010; Robson et al 2007). However, their actual impact on occupational health and safety – in particular on ‘softer’ psychosocial areas of the working environment – has been questioned (Hohnen & Hasle 2011; Walters and Frick 2000; Hasle & Zwetsloot 2011). This has resulted in recent British attempts to develop new publically available guidelines (PAS 1010) to be used together with OHSAS 18001 focusing specifically on psychosocial risk management attempting to guide and control not only management systems and related procedures but also the concrete work domain in which psychosocial risks are produced, experienced and monitored (Leka 2011). Based on an analysis of OHSAS 18001 and PAS 1010 the present paper analyses these attempts and discusses why the new guidelines – particularly focusing on regulating the psychosocial working environment – only partly succeed in solving the shortcomings of OHSAS 18001. The paper shows how the problems of addressing contemporary complex and psychosocial working environment issues are related to general social regulatory mechanisms in international standards.

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