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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Construction engineering, Public and environmental health, Occupational health


European legislation for occupational safety and health (OSH) is based on the prevention of accidents and ill health. Apart from European directives, all Member States have national laws and strategies and expect enterprises to implement this preventative ethos, and thereby ensure adequate performance in OSH. Labour Inspectorates monitor and if necessary enforce these laws by deploying individual Labour Inspectors to chosen enterprises. If workplace safety and health conditions are found to be substandard, Labour Inspectors are expected to improve the situation using persuasion and, if necessary, their authority to compel enterprises through specific sanction powers. Bruhn (2009) describes this interaction as where the state meets enterprises and represents the process of turning national OSH legislation into practice. This discussion paper is centred on this interaction and follows on from calls by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EUOSHA) in its overarching review on improving compliance with occupational safety and health (OSH) regulations (EU-OSHA, 2021) to propose ways of providing additional empirical evidence to identify and promote the best strategies available to Labour Inspectors when they monitor and enforce OSH legislation within enterprises.