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Professor David Walters

Professor of Work Environment

Warsash Maritime School

Portrait image of David Walters


In a long research career David Walters has researched and written widely on the social, political and economic relations of work health and safety and contributed to understandings of determinants of policies, practices and outcomes in this field.

He has undertaken policy orientated research on the work environment in the UK, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada India, South Africa and other countries as well as at the European and global level. His work focusses on the industrial relations of work health and safety, the consequences of fissured and fragmented work organisation, the responsibilities of the heads of supply chains and the challenges posed by micro and small firms, for arrangements to prevent harm to increasingly vulnerable workers across a host of economic sectors. The evidence it has produced on ‘what works’, ‘why it works’ and ‘what supports it’, is definitive and acknowledged to be so, both by stakeholders and by the academic research community.

From 2003 until he retired in 2019, he was Professor of Work Environment in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University where is he now an Emeritus Professor. While employed at Cardiff University he was responsible for the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre (CWERC) and also for a time Associate Director of the Seafarers’ International Research Centre (SIRC), both in the School of Social Sciences. Previous to this, at South Bank University, he ran the Centre for Industrial and Environmental Safety and Health and the Centre for Trade Union Studies.

As well as producing an extensive range of publications, he has frequently advised Parliamentary and Government Inquiries, and Committees, Royal Commissions and government departments, dealing with work environment issues in the UK, in Europe and elsewhere, professional practitioner organisations like IOSH, international bodies like the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and many trade union organisations across a host of European and other countries, and at European and global levels. He was also the founding editor of the journal Policy and Practice in Occupational Safety and Health, for twelve years between 2003 and 2015. During, the same period he played an active role in the work of the IOSH Research Committee in the UK.


Research Interests

Professor David Walters' research and writing is on various aspects of the work environment and he has particular interests in employee representation and consultation on healthy and safety, the politics of health and safety at work, regulating health and safety management, chemical risk management at work and health and safety in small firms.