Accounting for human rights: Doxic health and safety practices - The accounting lesson from ICL

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with a specific human right - the right to work in a safe environment. It sets out a case for developing a new form of account of health and safety in any organisational setting. It draws upon the theoretical insights of Pierre Bourdieu taking inspiration from his assertion that in order to understand the " logic" of the worlds we live in we need to immerse ourselves into the particularity of an empirical reality. In this case the paper, analyses a preventable industrial disaster which occurred in Glasgow, Scotland which killed nine people. 11Among the dead were Tracey McErlane, 27, a receptionist from Possilpark, Glasgow, who left behind a seven-month-old son, Ryan; Ann Trench, 34, a computer operator from Colston, who was to due to end 15 years of service with ICL with her last shift; Margaret Brownlie, 49, from Strathaven; Peter Ferguson, 52, from Renfrewshire; Annette Rosina Doyle 24, of Crowhill St., Glasgow; Thomas McAulay, 41, from Glasgow; Kenneth Murray, 45; Timothy Smith, 31; and the chief executive of the company, Stewart McColl, 60, whose daughter, Sheena, had her leg amputated after she was crushed by falling masonry. and injured 33 others. The paper unearths the underlying structures of symbolic violence of the UK State, the Health and Safety Executive and capital with respect to health and safety at work in the case. While dealing with one specific country (Scotland) and arguably an anomalous event we contend that Bourdieu's objective of constructing a special case of what is possible can equally be used to question health and safety regimes and other forms of symbolic violence across the globe.Bourdieu (1998, p. 2) " My entire scientific enterprise is indeed based upon the belief that the deepest logic of the social world can be grasped only if one plunges into the particularity of an empirical reality, historically located and dated, but with the objective of constructing it as a " special case of what is possible," as Bachelard puts it, that is, as an exemplary case in a finite world of possible configurations. © 2011.

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Cooper, C., Coulson, A., & Taylor, P. (2011). Accounting for human rights: Doxic health and safety practices - The accounting lesson from ICL. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 22(8), 738–758. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2011.07.001

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