Labor Unions and Workplace Safety

Ling Li, Shawn Rohlin, Perry Singleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The authors examine the effect of labor unions on workplace safety. For identification, they exploit the timing and outcome of union elections, using establishments in which elections narrowly fail as a comparison group for establishments in which elections narrowly pass. Data on elections come from the National Labor Relations Board, and data on workplace safety come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The results indicate that unionization had no detectable effect on accident case rates at the mean, but shifted downward the case-rate distribution below 2 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers annually. The downward shift is most evident among larger bargaining units and manufacturing establishments. Results at the higher end of case-rate distribution are inconclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-426
Number of pages25
JournalILR Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • OSHA
  • labor unions
  • occupational safety
  • workplace safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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