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Assessing OSHA Performance: New Evidence from the Construction Industry

  • David Weil

    (School of Management, Boston University)

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    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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    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
    Contact details of provider: 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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