At the federal level, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists to promulgate regulations requiring workplaces be safe and to investigate when there are problems in a workplace to determine whether OSHA regulations were followed and whether the employer should be fined or required to change its way of doing business.
States are allowed to preempt the Federal OSHA and regulate their own workplaces, but they are required to meet the minimum standard of the federal regulations.
Some of the so-called “job killing” regulations that are posed by this administration and other Republican administrations around the country are regulations to make a workplace safe.
The regulations do pose an economic burden on the employer, but in most circumstances, those regulations are likely to be less expensive than one or more workers’ comp claims that arise as a consequence of an unsafe workplace.
The link that I’ve supplied here is to a story from NPR regarding a Kentucky workplace safety investigation. Read The Complete Story…
A worker was working in a street, and one of his employer’s trucks backed over him and then pulled forward over him, killing him. The worker did not hear the warning beep as the truck backed up. The Federal OSHA investigation demonstrated that the truck did not have an adequately loud beeper. The Kentucky investigation concluded that it did. The Kentucky investigation was performed when there were no other trucks around, no workers, and it was essentially silent, other than the truck backing up and that truck’s beeper.
While the widow probably has a worker’s compensation claim that arises out of this, she is prohibited by state law from suing the employer directly. She likewise can’t sue the co-employee who was driving the truck, and while she might be able to sue the manufacturer of the truck, it is more than likely that that truck was owned and maintained by the employer, thus shielding everyone from any kind of negligence lawsuit.
In the investigations I’ve been involved with, Oregon OSHA does a thorough investigation and when appropriate, fines the employer for their failure to make the workplace safe.
While I certainly understand that too much regulation can cost employers money, I also understand that not enough regulation costs working people their health, and in some instances, their lives. For me, I would prefer to opt in more regulation to make sure people are safe, rather than less regulation to save a small amount of money.