Every company operating in the United States is subject to rules established by authorities, from labor laws to safety regulations. For the most part, rules are designed to benefit the customer and protect the planet from harmful operating practices. For example, environmental regulations on manufacturing facilities help preserve the sustainability of resources and minimize pollution levels.
Manufacturing facilities must comply with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Can the federal government regulate manufacturers? Yes, and the average number of federal regulations issued each year is 3,300, based on the U.S. Government Accountability Office's Federal Rules Database from 2000 to 2014. Those with an estimated impact of $100 million or more run from 66 to 99 over those years.
This article dives into the impact of regulations and which ones impact a key part of the economy.
What is the Impact and Cost?
New regulations accumulate from one year to the next. Also, that is just the federal regulations, which do not consider the cascade of state, local, and rules involving each country or trading block. Given all this, the quest for "key manufacturing regulations" is somewhat impractical and idealistic. In addition, many of the critical regulations are those you are not aware of that can really sting when regulators show up on your doorstep.
The National Association of Manufacturers found that federal regulations' total cost in 2012 topped two trillion dollars. For an average U.S. manufacturer, the annual cost is a whopping $233,182 or 21% of payroll.
Where Do the Dollars Go?
In a report published by NAM titled The Cost of Federal Regulation to the U.S. Economy, Manufacturing, and Small Business, they found that the direct regulatory costs on manufacturers totaled $138.6 billion splits as follows:
- Staff Devoted to Compliance - $94.8 million
- Capital Equipment - $18.6 million
- Outside Advisor - $12.1 million
- Operations and Maintenance - $10.7 million
- Federal Compliance Penalties - $2.4 million
For a manufacturer with less than 50 employees, each year's total regulatory cost is $34,671 per employee. For one with 50 to 99 employees, it comes in at $18,243 per employee. The average of all manufacturers is $19,564. Regulatory compliance is not cheap.
Manufacturing Regulations and Restrictions
NAM has also published an insightful report titled Holding U.S. Back: Regulation of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector. In it, they provide a hypothetical account of one manufacturing firm and its regulatory journey. Then they detail every regulation and restriction placed on manufacturing by process step.
Here are the top restrictions sorted by the highest number:
- Environmental, Health, and Safety - 102,734
- Tax - 51,760
- Production - 44,628
- Quality Control - 23,951
- Distributions and Shipping - 21,057
- Human Resources - 17,042
- Research, Development, and New Products - 12,833
- Governance - 8,884
- Labeling and Packaging - 7,477
- Sourcing - 4,168
- Post-Sale Follow-Up - 1,644
- Marketing and Sales - 1,518
That's a grand total of 297,696 at the federal level. And, it keeps growing.
Automotive Manufacturing Regulations
Automotive manufacturing is one industry faces numerous regulations and rules imposed by international governments. Why does the United States regulate automobile manufacturing in so many ways? One primary reason is the number of new technologies introduced across the industry. Also, vehicles must meet specific safety guidelines to keep users protected, which means standards must exist. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the U.S. Federal agency regulating motorized vehicle safety standards, helping prevent countless injuries from occurring every year.
Here are some of the areas where vehicles are heavily regulated:
- Component Guidelines
- CO2 Emission standards
- Fuel Efficiency
Also, MCR Safety has an entire page devoted to the automotive industry, filled with tons of useful information. Click the below image to learn more.
Medical Device Manufacturing
What agency regulates the manufacturing of medical devices? The Federal Drug Administration FDA) oversees the regulation of medical devices manufactured, repackaged, and sold in the U.S. Items such as x-ray equipment and even MCR safety medical grade disposable gloves fall under the scope of the FDA. Devices are categorized into one of three levels:
Class 1 devices are lower-level risk products, and class 3 is the highest level.
The United States Department of Housing (HUD) establishes standards for manufactured homes surrounding construction, installation, and safety.
Here are several areas they enforce:
That same report, Holding U.S. Back: Regulation of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector, found that most manufacturers follow a five-step process to find and comply with new regulations:
- Identify new regulations.
- Determine if or how they impact the company's operations.
- Develop or revise operating procedures.
- Implement the strategies, improvements, and training.
- Audit compliance over the long term.
OSHA Regulation on PPE
Our specialty is personal protective equipment (PPE). So you can bet that we pay very close attention to regulations for our products. Here's what you need to know about OSHA regulations, including the regulation number
PPE General Requirements — 1910.132
PPE covers equipment meant to protect eyes, face, head, and extremities, including hands, feet, arms, legs, etc. Employers need to determine what's needed given the nature of the hazards in their workplace. Based on the hazards present, they need to provide the PPE and training at their expense. As a starting point for further information, we like the OSHA Fact Sheet Personal Protective Equipment.
Eye and Face Protection — 1910.133
Thousands of people are blinded each year, and eye injuries cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical costs, and worker compensation costs. The hazards you'll need to evaluate here include impact from flying objects, heat, chemicals, harmful dust, and optical radiation. OSHA provides an online tool for selecting PPE.
Hand Protection — 1910.138
We've spent a considerable amount of our time making gloves that fit every imaginable workplace and address every workplace hazard. The regulation for hand protection covers hazards that include: harmful substances, severe cuts/lacerations, abrasions, punctures, chemical, and thermal burns, as well as temperature extremes. Another resource we recommend is OHSA's PPE Assessment Tool.
Foot Protection — 1910.136
Foot protection needs to address falling and rolling objects as well as things that could pierce the sole. It should also address static-discharge or electric-shock hazards when those exist in the workplace. You'll find the full regulation at foot protection.
Where can I look up PPE regulations?
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a user-friendly website for searching PPE standards.
What U.S. governmental agency regulates the use of PPE?
OSHA regulates and oversees PPE regulations.
Who regulates manufacturers of alcohol?
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulates the production of alcohol.
MCR Safety - We’ve Got You Covered
Of course, when it comes to personal protective equipment, PPE, we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s gloves, glasses, garments, or all three, you can find them at MCR Safety.
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For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it's on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there to provide solutions to workplace hazards. It's all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.