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The Impact of Occupational Safety and Health Regulation

  • W. Kip Viscusi

Occupational health and safety regulation imposes on enterprises an expected penalty that is positively related to the presence of unsafe working conditions for firms not in compliance with the standards. Higher expected penalties will increase enterprises' investment in work quality inputs, which in turn will lead workers to reduce their safety-enhancing actions. Low and moderate expected penalty levels increase health and safety, whereas very severe penalties may have a counterproductive effect. Present OSHA penalty levels are too low to create an effective financial incentive. The analysis of pooled time series and cross section data on industry health and safety investments and injury rates for the 1972-1975 period failed to indicate any significant OSHA impact for the data set analyzed.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal Bell Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (1979)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 117-140

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Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:spring:p:117-140
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