Regulations at Work

Five Rules that Save Workers’ Lives and Protect their Health

April 15, 2011 — Lax regulation was a chief culprit in a number of recent disasters in the U.S. The financial meltdown, the BP oil spill, and the Upper Big Branch mine explosion each demonstrate the need for government oversight of corporations. But despite this recent history, Republicans, small-government conservatives, and even some Democrats have spent much of the past two years denouncing regulations and blaming them for slowing the economic recovery.

But the real-world record contradicts the critics’ narrative. Contrary to the broadsides against regulations in general, many actual regulations impose minimal costs on industry in proportion to the benefits they yield. This paper looks at five worker-safety regulations that were tremendously successful in reducing employee injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.