It’s good that President Donald Trump is meeting with corporate chief executives and industry leaders to bring jobs back to America. However, he should probably be paying attention to a new report from the National Association of Manufacturers as well.
Issued just last week, the study says there are 297,696 regulations that are currently restricting the efforts of manufacturers. What kind of regulatory restrictions? The full report mentions many.
One example given is a manufacturer in the aviation industry is required to let machines sit idle after completion of an activity for one product before it can be used for another job in order to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for the control of hazardous energy. The Federal Aviation Administration would need to certify that the manufacturer’s design of a part is satisfactory and that the production process meets the FAA’s safety standards. Engineering controls to reduce airborne crystalline silica are mandated. Packing materials are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the emission standards and fuel economy requirements of its delivery trucks. Extensive records must be kept for the Federal Highway Administration about delivery truck weights and loading procedures. The story goes on, but you get the picture.
It seems to me that many of these rules are important and designed to protect the public and I’m sure many manufacturing executives would agree. But a great many feel that the regulatory environment has gone well beyond what’s reasonable. Seventy-two percent of the manufacturers surveyed said that the regulatory burden has gotten “significantly higher” in the last five years and 87 percent said that savings from excessive compliance requirements would be reinvested in their employees, research and development and capital equipment.
“As this study demonstrates, manufacturers work diligently to comply with regulations handed down from Washington.” said NAM’s President-elect and CEO Jay Timmons in this Shopfloor article. “We believe in smart regulations that keep our communities and workplaces safe, but too often, these rules go too far or are too complex.”
297,696 regulations does sound like a lot.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Gene Marks