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Safety Science Monitor

The development of OH&S in the advanced export-oriented industrial economies after 1945 indicates that technological development, investments and innovations are the most critical factors in the reduction of occupational injury and disease. But the competitive industrial development has, in most cases, been underpinned by a regulatory framework demanding equal compliance from all in the market, combined with reasonable levels of inspectorate detection. To uphold the regulatory framework has served to prevent unlawful shortcuts and undeserved market advantages. The efficiency crisis of the industrial safety inspectorate in the 1990s is evident throughout the modern industrial world. In most countries the inspectorate has seen reduced pro-active inspection and control activities and the emergence of rather unconvincing forms of advisory services. Todays big industrial company has little need for the inspectorate. Large numbers of medium-size companies often have great demand for OH&S advice and services, but they will not take their problems to the inspectorate. Small companies and the self-employed mostly exist outside control - and often outside the law. 2 The contradiction between inspection and control, on the one hand, and prevention and industrial development, on the other, has become more pronounced in most countries.

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Tore J Larsson

Royal Institute of Technology

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