New Study Confirms that Random Safety Inspections Reduce Workplace Injury Risk

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by Eric Pearson

Critics of government regulation often claim that regulations often fail to achieve their objective and lead to a loss of jobs. A recent study refutes this claim when it comes to government safety inspections. The study, published in an article titled the May 2012 edition of Science, confirms that random OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) safety inspections reduce worker injuries and lead to no loss of jobs.

The authors of the study analyzed a natural field experiment to examine how workplace safety inspections affected injury rates and other outcomes. They compared 409 randomly inspected establishments in California with 409 matched-control establishments that were eligible, but not chosen, for inspection. Compared with controls, randomly inspected employers experienced a 9.4% decline in injury rates and a 26% reduction in injury cost.

The study also found a $355,000 average savings for an employer as the result of an OSHA inspection and an estimated $6 billion per year savings to employer’s nationwide. Moreover, the study found no evidence that these improvements came at the expense of employment or sales.

Researchers David Levine, Michael Toffel, and Matthew Johnson explained, “The benefits of a randomized safety inspection appear to be substantial. These results do not support the hypothesis that OSHA regulations and inspections on average have little value in improving health and safety.”

While the new study underscored the beneficial effects of random OSHA inspections, the sad fact is that OSHA is under-funded and cannot possibly inspect all of the workplaces that need inspecting. In 2010, the Center for Progressive Reform released a study that showed that each OSHA inspector is expected to cover 60,000 workers, twice as many as when the agency was founded in 1971.

If you or a loved has suffered serious injury or death from a workplace accident or injury, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out if you may have a case, call us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 or fill out our free case evaluation form, and one of our representatives will contact you for more information.