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EHS Laws and Regulations

Environmental and occupational health and safety laws and regulations are complex and often confusing.

There are literally thousands of environmental safety and health laws and regulations developed and administered by a confusing array of national, state and local governmental agencies - both in the United States and abroad. In addition, there are hundreds of international standards and directives that may be considered "other requirements."

Determining which of these legal and other requirements are applicable to your operations is often a difficult task. It is, however, a critical task. Failing to comply with a requirement may lead to substantial fines or other penalties. Complying with regulations that are not required may use resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

When implementing an environmental or safety and health management system, compliance must be addressed as an integral part of your management system. Pursuant to ISO 14001, organizations are required to do the following:

What are Other Requirements?
When discussing environmental compliance, ISO 14001 uses the terminology of "legal requirements and other requirements to which the organization subscribes." What does this mean?

When environmental management system standards were first being developed, there was a common misconception that environmental compliance requirements were limited to regulations issued by environmental agencies such as US EPA. Those developing the ISO 14001 standard wanted to make sure it was clear that the compliance obligation is broader than this. It includes complying with all the environmental commitments an organization has made. This includes commitments made as a member of an industry trade group, to customers in contractual documents, to shareholders and other business partners, to regulators in consent documents and to the public in policy statements.

  • Establish a policy which includes a commitment to compliance with applicable legal and other requirements
  • Establish, implement and maintain a procedure to identify applicable legal and other requirements
  • Ensure that applicable legal and other requirements are taken into account in the management system
  • Periodically evaluate the organization's compliance with the applicable legal and other requirements
  • Report on the results of the compliance evaluation to Top Management

Four Steps to Developing an Effective EHS Compliance Program

There are four steps to establishing an effective EHS Compliance Program:

  • Developing and implementing a procedure for identifying your compliance requirements
  • Developing processes to ensure those compliance obligations are met
  • Developing and implementing a process for evaluating your compliance status
  • Reporting to Top Management about your compliance status

Step 1 -- Identify your Legal and Other Requirements

Before you can address your legal and other requirements you need to know what they are.

How ENLAR Can Help

Preparation of a Site-Specific Compliance Guidebook

One requirement of ISO 14001 is that the company must develop a procedure to "identify and have access to legal and other requirements to which the organization subscribes, that are applicable to the environmental aspects of its activities, products or services."

ENLAR Site-Specific Compliance Guidebooks help meet this requirement. First, it identifies your legal requirements. Second, it sets out how each regulation can quickly and easily be accessed using paper, electronic and web-based resources. Finally, it will assist you in continuing to identify your compliance obligations on an on-going basis.

An ENLAR Guidebook will provide a concise and easy-to-understand summary of the environmental, safety and health regulations that actually apply to your organization

Contents of an ENLAR Site-Specific Compliance Guidebook

  • List of Compliance Requirements by Subject Area
  • Detailed Compliance Summaries for each Regulation
  • Individually-Tailored Compliance Audit Checklist
  • Information on Accessing Regulatory Requirements
  • Contact Information for Regulatory Agencies

Step 2 - Develop your Compliance Program

Once you know what your legal requirements are, you can develop a compliance program to ensure that each requirement is addressed when and how it must be done. This may include:

  • Completing and filing reports with environmental agencies
  • Applying for licenses or permits
  • Implementing product or workplace labeling
  • Developing written plans or procedures
  • Undertaking periodic inspection or sampling programs

How ENLAR Can Help

ENLAR can assist with preparation of required reports or permit applications, help you development written procedures and provide you with e-mail reminders of up-coming compliance requirements.

Step 3 Evaluate your Compliance Status

ISO 14001 requires that you develop a procedure to periodically evaluate your compliance status. This procedure needs to address who is going to do this, when and how often it is going to be done and the process to be used. In addition, this procedure needs to address other legal issues such as US EPA Audit Policy.

How ENLAR can Help

ENLAR has assisted a number of organizations with compliance evaluations. This includes researching difficult compliance questions, assisting in developing evaluation tools such as audit checklists and conducting compliance assessments and internal investigations.

Step 4: Report to Top Management

Top Management cannot make a commitment to compliance without being informed about what this means. ISO 14001 requires that one of the inputs to management review is information on the results of the compliance evaluations performed.

 
 

ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc.
3665 East Bay Drive, Suite 204-C, Largo, FL 33771-1965
Phone: 727-754-3670

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