THE LATEST: On January 30, 2023, business coalitions Main Street Alliance (MSA) and the American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN), represented by Democracy Forward, submitted a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The brief urges the court to uphold a district court decision rejecting an effort by a Waterville, OH-based company to gut the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) authority to set and enforce workplace safety standards by declaring a significant portion of the bipartisan Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) unconstitutional. The case is Allstates Refractory Contractors, LLC v. Martin J. Walsh, et al.
In the fifty years since the OSH Act was passed, OSHA has used targeted enforcement of evidence-based safety rules to carry out the specific task it was assigned by Congress: “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.”
Study after study has shown that OSHA’s enforcement of its workplace safety standards significantly reduces the incidence of workplace fatalities and injuries and that businesses (and employees) realize substantial benefits from the safer workplaces that result.
The brief cites testimony from small businesses describing how OSHA’s targeted enforcement of evidence-based safety standards level the playing field between small businesses and larger competitors by preventing businesses from being forced to incur the costs of developing and enforcing their own safety standards.
For the above reasons, the brief explains, OSHA’s safety standards help small businesses’ bottom lines and their employees.