Congressional Briefing - April 28, 2006

Small Business and Worker Fatality Risk

Presented by John Mendeloff and Christopher Nelson

Friday, April 28, 2006 from 2:00-3:30 P.M.
2360 Rayburn House Office Building

Small businesses often present difficult problems for occupational health and safety regulators because while the regulation is believed to be a greater burden on small businesses, research on small establishments has shown that fatalities are more likely at firms with fewer employers. Better understanding of these issues surrounding business size and occupational safety could enable policymakers to design and target policies more appropriately.

The Kauffman-RAND Center for the Study of Small Business and Regulation recently released a new report that finds that small businesses themselves are not the problem. Larger businesses with multiple small establishments are more dangerous than single-establishment small businesses.

John Mendeloff, Adjunct Policy Analyst at RAND and Professor of Public Affairs, Public Health, and Law at the U of Pittsburgh, and Christopher Nelson, Political Scientist at RAND, will present more findings from the new study. Their presentation will focus on three important questions from the research:

  • What is the relation between the number of employees at a location, the number employed by the entire business, and fatality rates?
  • Do higher rates in small businesses reflect higher rates of serious violations?
  • What are the implications for workplace safety and entrepreneurship policy?

This presentation is the first of several briefings on entrepreneurship and policy planned for the upcoming months by the Kauffman-RAND Center. The Kauffman-RAND Center is dedicated to assessing and improving legal and regulatory policymaking as it relates to small businesses and entrepreneurship.