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Assessing OSHA Performance: New Evidence from the Construction Industry

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  • David Weil

    (School of Management, Boston University)

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    Abstract

    The determinants of OSHA performance can be examined by breaking the regulatory process into three elements relating to enforcement, compliance behavior, and the adequacy of standards in addressing safety outcomes. This paper develops and applies this framework to the U.S. construction industry during the period 1987 to 1993. Enforcement activity among the firms in the sample was substantial, with firms facing a high probability of annual inspection. But, despite this significant enforcement effort, inspections have a modest effect on firm compliance with OSHA standards. Finally, the health and safety standards cited most frequently diverge from the major sources of fatalities and injuries on construction projects. These results suggest that historic enforcement policies toward construction make less sense as OSHA moves into its fourth decade of operation. More generally, the paper illustrates the problem of focusing enforcement resources on large, high‐profile companies even though they often are not the major source of regulatory problems in an established area of public policy intervention. © 2001 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.1022
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 651-674

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:20:y:2001:i:4:p:651-674

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Bartel, Ann P & Thomas, Lacy Glenn, 1985. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Regulation: A New Look at OSHA's Impact," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-25, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Wayne B. Gray & John M. Mendeloff, 2005. "The declining effects of OSHA inspections on manufacturing injuries, 1979 to 1998," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(4), pages 571-587, July.
    2. Christine Jolls, 2007. "Employment Law and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 13230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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