Most of us don’t love being told what to do. It starts when we’re kids and we’re told to clean our room. It continues when we’re in high school and get told we have to do our homework before we can go hang out with our friends. When we hit 18, we get more freedom, but there are still plenty of rules and regulations. If we want to drive, we need car insurance (in all but two states). If we want to open a business, we need to comply with certain zoning ordinances. If we want to apply for a job, we need to be fingerprinted and drug-tested. It can all get to be a bit much, but there are reasons for these regulations to exist.


To protect the public


There’s a lot of political debate over regulations, and it doesn’t seem likely to go away anytime soon. Without getting too deep into the weeds, some people believe that people will do the right  and decent thing without being told they have to, while others believe that’s just not the case. Some regulations can certainly seem frustrating and hard to understand, but they’re usually well-intentioned, even if they aren’t always well-explained. For instance, everybody wants clean drinking water. Just ask the residents of Flint, Michigan. Safe drinking water shouldn’t be a luxury in a country like America, so there are specific rules outlining how municipal water supplies should be handled. If you run a business that produces a lot of wastewater, you can’t just dump the wastewater in the nearest river and hope for the best. Instead, you should look into wastewater treatment and recycling options that are better for both the environment and for your company’s bottom line. More and more businesses are realizing they don’t have to choose between profits and conservation. You should be able to have both, and not just because you’ll be fined if you don’t dispose of your wastewater properly.


To protect workers


If you feel like going down an Internet rabbit hole, look up the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The New York City industrial fire that killed over 100 workers is considered a flashpoint in the fight for better working conditions. It turns out that locking the doors can literally lead to people dying. Preventing deaths is seen as more important than preventing workers from taking too many breaks or stealing merchandise, and so now there are specific rules that, generally speaking, forbid bosses from locking their employees up for their entire shift. If a fire marshal has ever come by your office and started pointing out things that are fire hazards, then that means your company will either have to fix what’s wrong or deal with some hefty fines.


There also rules mandating specific protective equipment for people performing certain types of work. And while some trucking companies might prefer to hire people without taking a look at their background, the Department of Transportation frowns upon that. If you’re looking for a career as a forklift operator, except to take a drug and alcohol test first. You’re operating heavy machinery, and the rules for people operating heavy machinery are going to be more stringent than the rules for pizza delivery drivers. Jumping through these hoops can be expensive and time-consuming, but the idea is that a little hassle now is better than a major tragedy later.


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