In the last two decades Italian policies against «black work» (i.e., off-the-books labour), promoting workplace health and safety (the term «white death» refers to fatal, on-the-job accidents), have deeply modified the previous regulatory and institutional framework, shaping a horizontal and participative model, with the contribution of entrepreneurs, workers and local administrations in its implementation. Nevertheless, there is widespread dissatisfaction for delays in the actual adoption of a safety model at work which is perceived as imposed from the top and only formalistically accepted, often non fully implemented or eluded. This article analyzes policies for safety at work at the local level, with empirical materials drawn from a study in the province of Pisa, showing how the structure of economic incentives, social influences, value and cognitive factors influences conditions for the accomplishment of safety norms. Main implementation difficulties are related not to the lack of formal regulation, but to the persistence of friction with informal constraints and cultural resistance which, according to actors, prevent a full realization of expected effects.
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