Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


CGLR/CWERC Safety or Profit? Conference

Starts: 11 January 2011

A conference to celebrate Theo Nichols’ contribution to a sociological understanding of health and safety at work

Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences, January 11th 2011

In 1972 Theo Nichols co-authored a pamphlet called Safety or Profit? with Pete Armstrong. In it, based on their sociological research on work in the chemicals industry, with considerable clarity and incisiveness they contested assumptions concerning the ‘identity of interest’ between workers and employers on health and safety that had informed the recommendations of the Report of the Robens Inquiry into Safety and Health at Work. The latter was a significant influence on a wave of regulatory reforms in the UK and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Theo’s work was a fundamental influence on the thinking of generation of scholars, trade unionists and health and safety activists. Some forty years on, as recent government strategies make clear, these differences in ways of understanding the health and safety consequences of relations between capital and labour remain as relevant as they were in the 1970s.

In this conference to celebrate Theo’s contribution to sociological research and writing, scholars from the UK, and elsewhere in Europe as well as from Canada, Australia and New Zealand will review some key issues characterising the current political economy of health and safety at work in advanced market economies and reflect on the relationship between research and governmental policies in this area. Included in the topics on which it will focus are the representation of workers interests in the prevention of work-related injury and ill-health, ways of understanding the significance of injury and ill-health in the modern workplace, structural and organisational challenges to protecting workers and preventing harm, as well as current trends in regulation and regulatory inspection. The conference will adopt comparative and international perspectives on these issues with presentations from leading researchers on these topics. In so doing it will highlight the continuing relevance of Theo’s seminal contribution and its significance in wider understandings of the relationship between sociology and public policy.

Speakers include: Kaj Frick (Malardalen University), David Gee (European Environment Agency, Copenhagen), Phil James (Oxford Brookes University), Richard Johnstone (Griffith University), Felicity Lamm (Auckland University of Technology), Wayne Lewchuck (McMaster University), Michael Quinlan (University of Sydney), Eric Tucker (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University), Andrew Watterson (University of Stirling), Charles Woolfson (Linköping University) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool).

The Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre is organising this conference on 11 January, as part of a two-day event hosted jointly with the Centre for Global Labour Research. This Centre will organise the second day on 12 January with a conference to celebrate the wider contribution of Theo Nichols to sociological research. Attendees at these events are welcome to participate in either one or both of these days.

Please complete the booking form to register. Contact - for further information.


Other information

Open To: Public