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Think tank calls report’s estimates on OSHA costs ‘unreliable’

August 31, 2011

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Washington – A Small Business Administration report released last year “vastly overstated” the costs associated with OSHA regulations, according to a new issue brief (.pdf file) from the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

The brief, released Aug. 22, claims several studies published this year found major flaws in the 2010 report (.pdf file), which suggested occupational safety and health rules cost $65 billion a year. Conducted by Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, the report’s finding are based on a 2005 study (.pdf file) (originally published in 2001) that estimated the cost of safety and health regulations issued through 2000 and was based on a now-unavailable 1974 survey.

According to EPI, the SBA report does not account for production practices, changes or adaptations made for the regulations over the past 40 years, and the report’s cost estimates are “unreliable” because they were made more than 10 years ago. The think tank said OSHA regulations issued in the last decade cost about $500 million, and modern business practices likely negate the cost of standards issued in prior decades.

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