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 presumptions 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 presumptions. 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 the blameworthiness of rule breaking.

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Law & Policy
Department of Sociology

Mascini, P. (2006). The blameworthiness of health and safety rule violations. Law & Policy, 1–34. Retrieved from