My dad is a prime example of the problems discussed in this article. He’s a small business owner and on multiple times he’s not built additions (something that would employ a contractor and generate more money) because he would have to comply with these regulations. Whether it’s having a large bathroom or reserved parking spots, it costs him extra money. Beyond that, he’s very fearful of the consequences of hiring a handicapped person. I think another overlooked example of this is OSHA regulations. They have the intention of making people safer; however, they typically significantly increase operating costs and make employers fearful. OSHA fines can be bankruptcy inducing, either from lawsuit or the fines themselves. This makes employers hesitant to have OSHA come in for inspections or classes.
My dad’s company does commercial HVAC/refrigeration. Not construction, but similar. There are tons of risks associated with it and his guys know that; however, OSHA would have them harness in (like rock climbers) every time they climb a ladder high than FOUR FEET, a daily occurrence. Beyond happening daily, how on earth do you do that on a normal building? There’s no hooks to use and adding them to all buildings, even one-story ones, would raise costs on owners/employers. Dad also needs to take out all his shop doors so he can install new doors with windows, that way his employees don’t run into each other. He only employs about 15 people and rarely are they all in the shop at the same time. They can hear each other coming and going. There’s tons of examples of absurd regulations.
At some point we have to accept risk to do a job and get things done. They world is a dangerous place, the government can’t help that. I don’t think employers should abuse their employees, but the government needs to stop being a nanny-state. Get out of our lives and expect us to be adults. If we’re always treated as fragile children, children we’ll remain. The only people who’ll continue to benefit are politicians and trial lawyers. There’s no reason for these intrusions into our work, and a great way to encourage growth would be to remove the threat of tens of thousands of dollars worth of fines for operating a manual-labor intensive company.
I too have more to come on this and will update it as soon as I can.