The mission of the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre is to foster the development of a university wide focus for research activity in the area of the work environment, health and safety, work and well-being, rehabilitation and related subjects and provide an authoritative source of expert advice on these topics. It promotes research locally, nationally and internationally through undertaking specific research projects and disseminating their results through seminars, workshops, conferences and the publication of working papers.
Support for the continued research work of the Centre is sought from research councils, government departments, and elsewhere. We are also keen to collaborate with others to undertake major cross cutting research across the range of expertise represented by the Centre, that is can make a useful contribution to a better understanding of the work environment and contribute to the improvement of health, safety and well-being at work.
Analysis of the determinants of workplace occupational safety and health practice in a selection of EU Member States - Funded by European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
This policy-orientated project examines the impact of features of the environment in which establishments operate upon the way in which they manage occupational health and safety (OHS). The research covers several broad aspects of this environment, including: the style and character of the national regulatory regime for OHS management; the labour relations context of OHS management; key features of social protection systems; and other factors such as national infrastructures for OHS support, economic and political climates, the labour market and structure and organisation of work and relevant aspects of arrangements for training and skills qualification. It forms part of the work following up the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) and its secondary analyses (in which CWERC was also involved – see Past Projects).
Managing the health and safety of workers in globalised container terminals - Funded by the International Transport Workers' Federation
This is an indicative study into the arrangements for managing health and safety in container terminals operated by Global Network Terminal (GNT) operators. Using a mixed methods approach, it examines the nature, extent and effectiveness of policies and arrangement made to manage health and safety.
ESENER - Analysis of the findings of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks on the effectiveness and support for worker representation and consultation on health and safety - (funded by European Agency for Safety and Health at Work)
In 2009 the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) carried out a Europe-wide establishment survey on health and safety at the workplace, the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). The survey involved approximately 36 000 interviews and covered 31 countries (27 European Union Member States, Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and Turkey). Following an initial overview analysis, in 2011 EU-OSHA commissioned a number of secondary analysis projects, one of which focused on worker representation and consultation on health and safety. This study undertook a more detailed analysis of the ESENER data concerning the representation of workers in arrangements for health and safety management and investigated the relationship between the effectiveness of health and safety management measures within enterprises and the involvement of employee representatives in these measures.
NERCLIS - Contract to assess the potential impact of emerging trends and risks on labour inspection methodologies in the domain of occupational health and safety - (funded by the European Commission)
This project assessed the impact of emerging trends and risks on labour inspection methodologies in the domain of occupational health and safety. The work involved a review of the occurrence of new and emerging risks in EU Member States and an examination of the evidence of their impact on labour inspection. A number of significant aspects of labour inspection response were the focus of more detailed examination in a selection of Member States. These aspects were: strategies of labour inspectorates to achieve and co-ordinate greater engagement from stakeholders in health and safety in the ‘new economy’; the selection and training of inspectors in the light of the challenges posed by emergent risks and trends; and the challenge of inspecting health and safety issues in relation to undeclared work.
Supply chain management for health and safety - (funded by IOSH)
This empirical study considered experiences of supply chain mediated influences on health and safety practice and performance in the construction and shipping industries. Using a series of case studies supported by a review of the literature, the project set out to test a set of propositions concerning the conditions and contexts of these influences that was developed in a previous CWERC study on the role of supply chains in influencing health and safety at work.
Food standards agency project - (funded by the Food Standards Agency)
The Public Inquiry into the September 2005 outbreak of E.coli O157 in South Wales, published in 2009, identified serious breaches of Food Hygiene Regulations as a key cause of the event. It also identified poor food safety culture and inadequate enforcement action as contributory factors to the outbreak. In response, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommended further investigation to fully understand the culture and behaviours in businesses and enforcement bodies, as well as the communication between these two groups that facilitate or inhibit compliance with regulation. To start this work off, the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and CWERC were commissioned by the FSA to conduct an evidence review in this area, with the overall aim of determining “what works‟ in terms of culture and behaviour in securing compliance.
REACH - Analysis of needs and the development of an instrument to help employers, workers and their representatives implement the requirements of REACH in small firms that are downstream users of chemical substances in the EU textiles industry - (funded by the European Commission)
REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It came into force on 1st June 2007 and replaced a number of European Directives and Regulations with a single system for regulating the use of chemical substances within the EU. REACH created some new responsibilities for duty-holders among firms that supply and use chemical substances. This project set out to contribute towards helping trade unions and business organisations in the European Union develop appropriate and useful responses to the requirements of REACH. Focusing on the textiles sector, the project: identified the needs of these organisations to help improve social dialogue on chemical risk management in the light of REACH; and developed an instrument aimed at helping to strengthen their capacity to achieve this in smaller textiles firms in EU states. The project, therefore, broadly aimed to improve the expertise of trades union representatives and managers to engage with health and safety aspects of industrial relations occasioned by the introduction of REACH, in particular in relation to achieving these ends in small and medium sized enterprises.
EPSARE — The Effectiveness of Safety Representatives on Occupational Health: A European Perspective: research project undertaken in collaboration with the European Trade Union Institute, Brussels (Funded by SALTSA, Sweden, the European Commission and ISAST, Paris)
This project analysed the role and effectiveness of safety representatives in improving work environment at workplace level. It aimed to: describe and assess the effectiveness of safety representatives’ intervention at the workplace level in selected countries; compare the characteristics (e.g., differences, similarities, advantages, disadvantages, etc.) of these interventions across countries; identify the preconditions for effective interventions and to elaborate methodological proposals for a better assessment of the safety representatives’ intervention; and build a network of trade unionists and social sciences researchers in the field.
CADIMPLE — An Evaluation of the Impact of the EU Chemical Agents Directive in Member States (funded by the European commission DG V).
CADimple was a research project funded by the European Commission Directorate-General (DG) V: Employment, Industrial Relations and Social Affairs.
The CADimple project was designed to analyse and evaluate the practical impact in the workplace of measures instigated by European Union member countries to implement the Chemical Agents Directive (98/24/EC).
On 24th October 2006 the European Union adopted a community programme for employment and social solidarity called PROGRESS. PROGRESS combines the policy fields of employment and social issues, and puts forward a set of common goals with the aim of improving the effectiveness of community law and programmes within the two fields creating synergistic effects between them. The European Commission’s central role in achieving these goals is both to further the development of the programme and also to monitor progress towards its targets.
The Chemical Agents Directive (98/24/EC) has been in effect since May 2001, with member states required to produce implementation reports by May 2006. In 2007 the European Commission called for proposals for work to provide the necessary information for it to be able to audit the practical implementation of the Directive.
The main objective of the project was to examine the practical impact in the workplace of the implementation of Directive 98/24/EC by member states on the protections of workers’ health and safety from risks related to chemical agents at work. The work was carried out by a consortium of four institutes: the Kooperationsstelle, Hamburg, who co-ordinated the project; the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre (CWERC), Cardiff University; the Dutch research organisation TNO; and the Polish National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CIOP-PIB).
Transferring knowledge for effective management of chemical risks in small firms (funded by the Knowledge Exploitation Fund of the Welsh Assembly Government)
The Welsh Assembly Government awarded Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre (CWERC) funding to undertake a Knowledge Exchange Project that investigated the practice, problems, needs and key supports for knowledge transfer of chemical risk management strategies to small enterprises in Wales. The project aimed to help establish more effective means to improve the management of chemical risks in small firms. This improvement is expected to lead to better health and safety in small firms in terms of both increased economic efficiency and reduced costs for social and health care. The project investigated barriers to knowledge transfer on chemical risk management in small firms and mechanisms for overcoming them, so that recommendations concerning future initiatives for knowledge exchange and technology transfer to support good practice on chemical risk management could be made. The project consisted of four phases:
1. Identifying key sectors, users and stakeholders (such as regulators, suppliers)
2. Establishing focus groups to look at use of existing tools, areas where support is lacking, ways of improving effectiveness and the situation for small enterprises in Wales within the wider international context
3. Developing links locally and internationally with a view to future facilitating partnerships
4. Preparing recommendations for effective knowledge exchange initiatives
Understanding the role of supply chains in influencing health and safety management and regulation, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University (Funded by IOSH)
This research, funded by IOSH, provided a systematic, wide-ranging critical review of the diverse body of international research discussing the nature of supply chain relationships and the influences they may have on the behaviour of the parties concerned and its relevance to health and safety at work. It used several online data-bases to enable access to this literature in the social and public health sciences for the period 1980-2007.