Signs You Need a Legal Compliance System
In our modern society, there are a number of rules and regulations that we as people need to comply with. There is also a legal requirement on businesses to comply with legislation and regulations especially in the sphere of Environment and Health & Safety (EHS).
If your business operates within a highly-regulated industry or has experienced any of the following, then this may a sign that management should look at implementing a legal compliance system.
- You are not up-to-date with the latest changes in Environment, Health & Safety legislation:
Sometimes it is difficult to find the latest changes in Environment, Health & Safety legislation, not to mention being able to read the complex legal text. If you are having a hard time keeping up-to-date you may need to install a legal register, which is kept up-to-date for you while also presenting the legal text in plain English.
- Difficulty tracking EHS compliance or unsure of your level of compliance:
You know which pieces of EHS legislation are most applicable to your operations but you are unsure of the level of your organisation’s compliance. Sometimes it’s a simple yes/no answer and other times a little more detail is required justifying how you are compliant.
- Current processes are tedious, time consuming or out-dated:
If your organisation currently uses an internal system that is time consuming to update with new legislation updates or the process is out-dated, then you may need to look at moving the process externally to ensure that it is kept up-to-date and that the process is streamlined.
- Non-conformances in audits:
If you are consistently receiving non-conformances in audits with regard to compliance obligations, it might be worth researching other providers in the market as your current system may not be up to scratch.
- Conformity of all sites/divisions:
Top management may require an overview of the compliance level of all sites and divisions. In order to achieve this, the organisation may have to put a legal compliance system in place, which enables management to have a multi-site view of their compliance.
- Unsure how certain pieces apply to your operations:
There is a vast amount of legislation pertaining to Environment and Health & Safety. Determining the legislation that applies to your industry and more specifically your individual operations can be a headache. There are systems available on the market that are tailored to an organisation’s activities and operations in which the legislation is interpreted to allow the organisation determine how the relevant legislation practically applies to their operations.
- Investing in the safety and health of employees:
You should ensure that all employees, even those not involved within an EHS function, have access to current and applicable pieces of EHS legislation. Having this insight will help them to work in a more safely manner.
- Clauses of ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (soon to be ISO 45001) require certified organisations to have one in place:
Clause 6.1.3 of ISO 14001:2015 and Clause 4.3.2 of OHSAS 18001:2007 place requirements on organisations to identify the legislation relevant to their operations. Putting a legal compliance system in place will help to satisfy these requirements.
- You need a view of EHS legislation outside of your current jurisdiction:
You may be abreast of your legislative requirements for Environment and Health & Safety in a particular jurisdiction, be it Ireland or Scotland, but if you have a site located elsewhere – in Germany for example – and you want it to perform to the same standards as the site in Ireland you will need to have a view of the applicable German EHS legislation. There are several complex, multi-layered legal jurisdictions worldwide. Examples of these countries include Spain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Brazil, the United States and Australia. If your organisation is in this position, it will need to research providers who have the capabilities to provide multi-jurisdictional legal registers.
It is important to be able to report on your overall compliance status and to be able to show these reports to an auditor or to circulate to management or colleagues. If you cannot easily pull this information together, you may need to implement a system where this is a feature.
- Reduction in workplace injuries, fines and costs:
Ultimately, a system that keeps an organisation up-to-date with relevant EHS legislation will help to reduce costs for an organisation in many ways. Firstly, the costs associated with lost days of work due to accidents and injuries of employees will be reduced as employees will be educated in safe work processes and be familiar with the legislation. Secondly, costs will be reduced for the company in terms of non-conformances and fines. Any firm found in breach of applicable pieces of EHS legislation leading to accidents or fatalities may face court appearances and hefty fines or penalties.
- Need for traceability
Traceability and compliance are two sides of the same coin. Firms operating in highly regulated industries need to ensure not only their compliance but accountability and transparency of their operations – this may come as a requirement from management or from your customer base.
These are just some of the signs that you need to put a legal compliance system in place. There may be many more that have not been mentioned here. Please comment and let us know which sign we missed and why.
The Pegasus Legal Register is one such system that organisations who have experienced any of the above signs should consider implementing.