Accounting for Human Rights: Doxic Health and Safety Practices – the accounting lesson from ICL
 
 
 
 
 
 
<ul><li>Bourdieu (1998, p 2) “My entire scientific enterprise is indeed based upon the belief that the deepest logic of th...
<ul><li>This paper deals with a very specific human right –  </li></ul><ul><li>the right to work in a safe environment.  <...
<ul><li>The scale of the abuse of this human right is profound.  </li></ul><ul><li>The International Labour Organization r...
These deaths and injuries are not confined to the economic south. <ul><li>For example, in Canada, official statistics sugg...
<ul><li>In the so-called developed world we argue that there is an expectation that our employer and the infrastructure ‘r...
Bourdieu <ul><li>Sets forth a dialectical relationship between agency and structure which transcends the apparently irreco...
<ul><li>Western workers’ subjectivities suggest we live in advanced countries where are human rights are protected and tha...
Doxa <ul><li>The “surface” conformity between mental and objective structures is called doxa. </li></ul><ul><li>However, t...
The State <ul><li>A key function of the modern state is to bring about a theoretical unification. </li></ul><ul><li>For ex...
<ul><li>In short, the State moulds  mental structures </li></ul><ul><li>while at the same time imposing common principles ...
Neo-liberalism <ul><li>Business good/state bad </li></ul><ul><li>Private = efficient; flexible; dynamic </li></ul><ul><li>...
<ul><li>We argue that neo-liberalism served to help mould the mental structures of the owners and senior management at ICL...
<ul><li>The imposition of systems of symbolism and meaning which hide objective power elations in a form which renders the...
<ul><li>This paper unearths the underlying objective structures of symbolic violence which frame the subjective health and...
Traditional Accounting and the explosion <ul><li>On the last day of the Hearing in which ICL pleaded guilty to two Health ...
<ul><li>On 28th August, 2007, Lord Brodie, the sentencing judge, announced that ICL Plastics and ICL Tech would each be fi...
<ul><li>This fine could be compared to a fine of £121.5m imposed by the OFT and $300m (£150m) by the US department of just...
<ul><li>It was estimated that the site where the explosion occurred, had an insurance value of £2.2m.  </li></ul><ul><li>T...
Financial factors not included in the financial statements <ul><li>The companies involved received a sum of £420,000 from ...
<ul><li>In time, the company will be able to sell the land for around £3m. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The cash holdings did form part of the campaign for a public inquiry.  </li></ul><ul><li>Thus financial informatio...
<ul><li>Looking through the lens offered by Bourdieu we can further unmask the financial accounts as a tool of violence.  ...
The Health and Safety Executive <ul><li>The HSE has been granted State symbolic capital and organisational structures have...
The pipe <ul><li>The history of the use of LPG at ICL began in 1969, when an LPG tank was installed in a yard outside of t...
 
<ul><li>Over the years the tank had created considerable interest on the part of the HSE </li></ul><ul><li>The directors s...
<ul><li>In 1988, a key event in the history occurred. </li></ul><ul><li>The HSE inspector, John Ives (who had experience o...
Recommendation 11 <ul><li>Part of the underground pipework carrying LPG vapour into the building should be excavated.  The...
<ul><li>In the subsequent trial relating to the explosion it was heard that the cost of renewing the pipe would have been ...
<ul><li>Ives returned to ICL on 1st September, 1988,  to discuss Tyldesley’s report with Stott.  The entry on the HSE Repo...
<ul><li>The outcome of the meeting was that Stott was going to discuss the issue with a for-profit company, Calor (its LPG...
<ul><li>Calor watered down the recommendations. </li></ul><ul><li>Ives went along with Calor </li></ul><ul><li>Lord Gill a...
To cut a long story short <ul><li>Recommendation 11 was filed away and totally forgotten about until the explosion. </li><...
<ul><li>Imagine if the workers had seen Tyldesley’s recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>But HSE does not value worker input ...
Accounting for Human Rights <ul><li>The account should contain unabridged HSE reports.  Because of the potential for “nego...
<ul><li>While it would certainly be a step forward to provide HSE inspectors’ reports as part of a social account we argue...
<ul><li>Our third recommendation is that no commercial supplier should be involved in the production of the report.  </li>...
<ul><li>Our final recommendation is that all money spent on health and safety by a company is included in the Health and S...
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Accounting for human rights: doxic health and safety practices. The accounting lesson from ICL

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En el marco del congreso internacional de economía social celebrado en EOI Sevilla y en colaboración con Goldsmiths College, Christine Cooper, University of Strathclyde, presenta el caso de estudio de la explosión de una factoría para apuntar que le hecho social es una construcción subjetiva y mediada.
27_05_2010

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Accounting for human rights: doxic health and safety practices. The accounting lesson from ICL

  1. 1. Accounting for Human Rights: Doxic Health and Safety Practices – the accounting lesson from ICL
  2. 8. <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  3. 9. <ul><li>This paper deals with a very specific human right – </li></ul><ul><li>the right to work in a safe environment. </li></ul>
  4. 10. <ul><li>The scale of the abuse of this human right is profound. </li></ul><ul><li>The International Labour Organization reports that 2.2 million workers were killed in 2005 by occupational accidents and work-related diseases, another 270 million suffered non-fatal accidents, and 160 million were hit with occupational diseases </li></ul>
  5. 11. These deaths and injuries are not confined to the economic south. <ul><li>For example, in Canada, official statistics suggest that there are in the region of one million workplace injuries a year although many work-related deaths do not appear in the official statistics, because they were not accepted as such by Workers Compensation Boards, or resulted from occupational diseases not yet recognized as having roots in the workplace. </li></ul>
  6. 12. <ul><li>In the so-called developed world we argue that there is an expectation that our employer and the infrastructure ‘regulating’ our society will act in our interest and protect us: we have legal systems and regulatory frameworks of elected agencies to “protect” us. </li></ul>
  7. 13. Bourdieu <ul><li>Sets forth a dialectical relationship between agency and structure which transcends the apparently irreconcilable perspectives of objectivism and subjectivism. </li></ul>
  8. 14. <ul><li>Western workers’ subjectivities suggest we live in advanced countries where are human rights are protected and that we will be safe at work. </li></ul><ul><li>In the UK, this belief is reinforced by social structures like the Health and safety Executive and the legal structures in place to prosecute bad employers. </li></ul>
  9. 15. Doxa <ul><li>The “surface” conformity between mental and objective structures is called doxa. </li></ul><ul><li>However, the view of the dominant is imposed as the universal point of view. </li></ul><ul><li>Our mental structures are controlled by preconceived thematics which portray a non-neutral vision of reality which serves to uphold the interests of the most powerful. </li></ul>
  10. 16. The State <ul><li>A key function of the modern state is to bring about a theoretical unification. </li></ul><ul><li>For example the state contributes to the unification of the cultural market by unifying all codes, linguistic and juridical; through classification schemes (eg according to sex and age) inscribed in law; through bureaucratic procedures; and through educational structures and social rituals. </li></ul>
  11. 17. <ul><li>In short, the State moulds mental structures </li></ul><ul><li>while at the same time imposing common principles of vision and division. </li></ul><ul><li>I’m female; unmarried; solvent; PhD </li></ul><ul><li>And we argue that we're workers who participate in an advanced western economy with all the protections which that brings. </li></ul>
  12. 18. Neo-liberalism <ul><li>Business good/state bad </li></ul><ul><li>Private = efficient; flexible; dynamic </li></ul><ul><li>Public = inefficient; rigid; fossilized </li></ul><ul><li>Market = individual </li></ul><ul><li>State = group/collectivism </li></ul><ul><li>State regulation = bad </li></ul><ul><li>Self regulation =good </li></ul>
  13. 19. <ul><li>We argue that neo-liberalism served to help mould the mental structures of the owners and senior management at ICL too. </li></ul><ul><li>It could have killed them and/or their loved ones. </li></ul>
  14. 20. <ul><li>The imposition of systems of symbolism and meaning which hide objective power elations in a form which renders them legitimate is described by Bourdieu as symbolic violence. </li></ul>
  15. 21. <ul><li>This paper unearths the underlying objective structures of symbolic violence which frame the subjective health and safety expectations of workers in ICL (and in the UK generally). </li></ul>
  16. 22. Traditional Accounting and the explosion <ul><li>On the last day of the Hearing in which ICL pleaded guilty to two Health and Safety charges, the defence QC handed the judge what appeared to be a single sheet of unaudited figures prepared by the company which set out the size of fine which the companies involved could afford to pay without their business interests being affected. </li></ul>
  17. 23. <ul><li>On 28th August, 2007, Lord Brodie, the sentencing judge, announced that ICL Plastics and ICL Tech would each be fined £200,000. </li></ul><ul><li>The, albeit unaudited, abbreviated accounts which had been lodged by the company at Companies House demonstrated the cash holdings were £897,511 (30th Nov 2003); £455,187 (30th Nov 2004); and £749,950 (30th Nov 2005). </li></ul>
  18. 24. <ul><li>This fine could be compared to a fine of £121.5m imposed by the OFT and $300m (£150m) by the US department of justice in 2007 on British Airways for colluding over the setting of fuel-surcharges for cargo and long-haul passenger flights. </li></ul>
  19. 25. <ul><li>It was estimated that the site where the explosion occurred, had an insurance value of £2.2m. </li></ul><ul><li>This information was made available to the Court, yet despite this, Lord Brodie made it clear that “it would be inappropriate for the Crown to present an independent valuation of the accused companies” . </li></ul><ul><li>The court deemed that sufficient information was available to determine the fine, roughly equal to £44,000 for every life lost in the explosion and without any accounting for those seriously injured. </li></ul>
  20. 26. Financial factors not included in the financial statements <ul><li>The companies involved received a sum of £420,000 from their insurers. </li></ul><ul><li>The cost of clearing the land to the local authority was £1m (as far as the authors are aware, the local authority has made no attempt to recover this cost from ICL). </li></ul>
  21. 27. <ul><li>In time, the company will be able to sell the land for around £3m. </li></ul>
  22. 28. <ul><li>The cash holdings did form part of the campaign for a public inquiry. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus financial information, while limited, played a part in the struggle to hold ICL accountable. </li></ul><ul><li>In terms of representing and upholding the human rights of workers to health and safety at work the formal accounts of the ICL Group of companies certainly proved to be an inadequate basis for establishing the fine. </li></ul>
  23. 29. <ul><li>Looking through the lens offered by Bourdieu we can further unmask the financial accounts as a tool of violence. </li></ul><ul><li>They are misrecognised as vehicles of accountability and misrecognised by the judiciary as a legitimate basis for financial representation of harm. </li></ul>
  24. 30. The Health and Safety Executive <ul><li>The HSE has been granted State symbolic capital and organisational structures have been created to support it. </li></ul><ul><li>Doxa means that we put our trust in it. </li></ul><ul><li>At the time of the explosion the HSE had 68 inspectors to police 81,000 workplaces in Scotland. </li></ul>
  25. 31. The pipe <ul><li>The history of the use of LPG at ICL began in 1969, when an LPG tank was installed in a yard outside of the ICL factory building. </li></ul>
  26. 33. <ul><li>Over the years the tank had created considerable interest on the part of the HSE </li></ul><ul><li>The directors stalled on their recommendations. </li></ul>
  27. 34. <ul><li>In 1988, a key event in the history occurred. </li></ul><ul><li>The HSE inspector, John Ives (who had experience of Inspecting ICL since 1981), attended that visit with Alan Tyldesley who had recently been recruited as a Specialist Inspector, working with the Field Consultancy Group dealing with fire and explosion. </li></ul><ul><li>He made 12 recommendations </li></ul>
  28. 35. Recommendation 11 <ul><li>Part of the underground pipework carrying LPG vapour into the building should be excavated. The state of the pipework and any corrosive protective coating should be examined by a competent person and any recommendations made as a result of this inspection should be carried out. A pressure test of the pipework should also be carried out. </li></ul>
  29. 36. <ul><li>In the subsequent trial relating to the explosion it was heard that the cost of renewing the pipe would have been £405. </li></ul>
  30. 37. <ul><li>Ives returned to ICL on 1st September, 1988, to discuss Tyldesley’s report with Stott. The entry on the HSE Report on Visits form recorded that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mr Stott opened the meeting by announcing that he was transferring his oven from LPG to mains gas which will reduce the need for the LPG store. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 38. <ul><li>The outcome of the meeting was that Stott was going to discuss the issue with a for-profit company, Calor (its LPG supplier), and would return to the HSE with a new proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus Stott made two completely contradictory statements during the same meeting. If ICL truly intended to convert to natural gas they had no need to speak to their LPG supplier – they would have had to speak to a natural gas supplier. </li></ul>
  32. 39. <ul><li>Calor watered down the recommendations. </li></ul><ul><li>Ives went along with Calor </li></ul><ul><li>Lord Gill at the Public Inquiry stated that “it is clear from Mr Ives’ evidence about the Calor counter-proposal that his decision to accept it was influenced, in part at least, by his fear of the consequences if he should reject it.” It was well known to the Inspectorate that Calor had a history of challenging HSE enforcement notices. </li></ul>
  33. 40. To cut a long story short <ul><li>Recommendation 11 was filed away and totally forgotten about until the explosion. </li></ul><ul><li>The Director who went to Calor (Stott) was in charge of risk assessment and didn’t mention the pipe in the newly implemented HSE regime. </li></ul>
  34. 41. <ul><li>Imagine if the workers had seen Tyldesley’s recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>But HSE does not value worker input </li></ul><ul><li>Lawrence Connelly </li></ul>
  35. 42. Accounting for Human Rights <ul><li>The account should contain unabridged HSE reports. Because of the potential for “negotiation and compromise” on the part of the HSE, reports should be shown to management and workers at the same time, before any discussion and negotiation takes place. </li></ul>
  36. 43. <ul><li>While it would certainly be a step forward to provide HSE inspectors’ reports as part of a social account we argue that the actual report itself would be enhanced by the creation of a more broadly based team comprising relevant worker representation. </li></ul>
  37. 44. <ul><li>Our third recommendation is that no commercial supplier should be involved in the production of the report. </li></ul>
  38. 45. <ul><li>Our final recommendation is that all money spent on health and safety by a company is included in the Health and Safety account, alongside costings for remedying the issues raised in the HSE report. Only comprehensive testing of known process hazards and full communication with workers would have improved HSE’s ability to identify the key problems at the plant. </li></ul>

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