Business and Law
In this paper we argue that occupational safety and health (OS&H) in the workplace is a production of values in action. We propose that such relations may best be explored through the structuration lens generated by Giddens (1984). We both use structuration theory to conceptualise the relations that produce safety and evaluate the utility of the theory as a research framework. We provide a detailed discussion of the context of, and rationale for a proposed study. The paper then analyses the components of structuration theory and frames the production of safety within these conceptual relations. The paper argues that the modalities that occur in the continuing practices of organisations are a complex and homogeneous mix that continuously shape and reshape safety values in actions. Through this analysis the paper identifies a 'cycle of abuse' that is occurring within this industry and concludes with a discussion of possible research interventions that could mediate such practice and the reduction of workplace accidents. Finally the paper reviews the utility of a theory generated as a broad sociological explanation two decades ago as a framework for current organisational investigation. This paper models the discursive cycle of abuse that generates unsafe practice, indicates the value of a specific research study, and illuminates the efficacy of structuration theory within organisational research.