Safety regulations cost country billions, manufacturers group says


Photo: National Association of Manufacturers

Washington – Occupational safety and health regulations cost employers about $71 billion each year, according to a National Association of Manufacturers-commissioned study released Sept. 10.

For individual employers, occupational safety and health and homeland security regulations in 2012 amounted to an average of $761 per employee in 2014 dollars, NAM claims. This represents nearly 8 percent of the average employer’s total federal regulatory cost per employee ($9,991).

For the manufacturing sector, safety and homeland security regulations had a bigger impact, costing the average manufacturer $831 per employee in 2012. This is slightly more than 4 percent of manufacturers’ burden of all federal regulations per employee ($19,564).

The bulk of all employers’ regulatory costs stem from economic regulations, while environmental regulations were the most costly for the manufacturing sector.

The study, which was not peer-reviewed, looked only at the cost of federal regulations – not potential benefits.

During a Sept. 10 press conference, NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray recommended that other studies be conducted on regulatory benefits. Moutray said regulations are “critical” to protect safety but stressed the need to eliminate unnecessary burdens on employers.

Complying with federal regulations results in $2 trillion in lost economic growth, NAM President Jay Timmons said during the press conference, adding that Washington needs to take steps to streamline regulations.