Safety and Regulation: a Call to Action

NAHB Housing Policy Briefing

April 1, 2018
Construction workers

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) in recent years has imposed large numbers of regulations on the construction industry.

Now the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is calling on OSHA to end the regulatory onslaught and instead expand its small-business compliance assistance to help home builders and other small-business owners improve the safety of their operations.

“The significant growth in the number and scope of regulations, along with the associated costs of these regulations, has raised concerns from NAHB members about OSHA’s heavy-handed enforcement practices and procedures,” J. Gary Hill, a custom home builder from Greensboro, N.C., said during testimony at a House subcommittee hearing on “a more effective and collaborative OSHA.”

“It is no secret that safety saves lives and money,” said Hill, who is 2018 chairman of NAHB’s Construction Safety and Health Committee. “We have learned that the money saved through reduced workers’ compensation costs, lost time due to worker injuries, and less time spent on accident claims and reports can be converted into business operations improvements. Moreover, a safe jobsite is the key to retaining good employees and hiring new ones.”

NAHB has identified three steps that OSHA can take to develop a more collaborative approach, particularly with small businesses, for improving regulatory compliance and safety outcomes:

• Focus efforts on providing employers with compliance assistance and training for existing regulations and standards.

• Develop innovative ways to partner with employers to achieve compliance.

• Modernize methods to disseminate compliance assistance information. This would include video-based education segments and checklists viewable from computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Federal regulations cost small businesses 60 percent more per employee than they cost large businesses, and compliance can average as much as $8,000 per employee, according to the Small Business Administration. On average, 24.3 percent of the final price of a new single-family home is attributable to government regulations.

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