Purpose: In the Covid-19 pandemic era, corporate responsibility and accountability for maintaining employee health and safety, particularly from this pernicious virus, have become a matter of major social and economic importance. From an accountability through action perspective, this study aims to set out to evaluate the potential occupational health and safety accountability consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper is based upon purposive sampling of several sets of publicly available data including published research literature addressing corporate social responsibility and accountability, and the literature more specifically addressing occupational health and safety (OHS) and its reporting. Also included are recent Web-based reports and articles concerning Covid-19-related OHS government and industry sponsored guidelines for employers and their workplaces across the UK and Australia.

Findings: The findings of this research highlight that firstly, the extant literature on OHS has been predominantly functionalist in its approach and that accountability through action provides an opportunity to make employers more visibly accountable for their response to Covid-19. Secondly, the paper highlights that despite recent progress on OHS issues significant concerns remained in the pre-Covid-19 era and that emerging regulations and legal obligations on employees have the potential to make OHS issues a prominent part of corporate social responsibility research.

Originality/value: Disease and mental health statistics reveal the potential significance of their expansion in the Covid-19 environment, and regulatory and legal liability concerns emerge as potential drivers of renewed corporate as well as researcher attention to OHS issues. Implications for the emergence of a broader range of accountability forms and visibilities are also canvassed.


This content is not covered by the Open Government Licence. Please see source record or item for information on rights and permissions.

Cite as

Parker, L. & Narayanan, V. 2022, 'Readressing accountability for occupational health and safety in a pandemic era', Meditari Accountancy Research. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEDAR-06-2021-1350

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 16 June 2022
Was this page helpful?