Man-made disasters usually lead to the tightening of safety regulations, because rule breaking is seen as a major cause of them. This reaction is based on the assumptions that the safety rules are good and that the rule-breakers are wrong. The reasons the personnel of a coke factory gave for breaking rules raise doubt about the tenability of these assumptions. It is unlikely that this result would have been achieved on the basis of a disaster evaluation, or high-reliability theory. In both approaches, knowledge of the consequences of human conduct hinders an unprejudiced judgement about where the blame for rule breaking lies.

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Law & Policy
Department of Sociology

Mascini, P. (2005). The Blameworthiness of Health and Safety Rule Violations. In Law & Policy (Vol. 27, pp. 472–490). doi:10.1111/j.1467-9930.2005.00208.x