The United States of America specializes in certain products and a few safety guidelines will not push away those products. I understand people are concerned about safety, but let's face it, even if we disregarded those guidelines and competed with China, we would still lose on account of our lack to people.
No, occupational safety rules are not at all limiting the United States in global competition. We as a people have decided that if corporations cannot keep its employees safe, we don't want them here. If you can't operate ethically then you are free to go to a country where human life is not valued as much.
Safety rules are needed to help keep workers safe as well as to reduce the amount of workers compensation cases that cost companies money. Other nations, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, have safety regulations and are still able to compete in the global market and maintain a strong economy.
There has been a myth circulating since the Bus administration that the USA is losing its ability to compete globally. This is ironic, considering that the US still leads the world in science, technology, higher education, and inventions. So, let's stop with these silly assmptions already. Especially since it's only gotten better under Obama.
The areas of the econoy that most contribute to growth and competition are not ones which are affected. Major players like information technology are not necessarily dangerous in anyway, therefore their efficiency is not impacted by these laws. Further, there must be some limit as to how much danger a worker should reasonably encounter, and as long as the intrusion is not too great, the rules are doing well.