Regulatory non-compliance can have serious ramifications in terms of financial liability (citations), organization reputational issues, and in some cases even the ability to continue operating as a business entity. It is extremely important to have a mechanism in place for staying informed and complying with local jurisdictional regulations. Part of this mechanism should include a process of staying informed of new and proposed regulations that have a potential to impact your organization.
A safety management system is designed with the intent to serve as a framework for an organization, as a minimum, to meet its legal occupational safety and health obligations. Therefore, it only makes sense that a safety management system has a Legal & Other Requirements element within it.
LEGAL & OTHER REQUIREMENTS
For this element, you have to think outside the box and identify all occupational safety regulatory and non-regulatory (Other) requirements. This is a fun exercise that will likely involve more than the safety manager.
A key point to remember in this element is the “Other” requirements. This can include, but not limited to, non-legal requirements such as corporate directives, voluntary safety programs, customer and vendor requirements, industry associations requirements (such as annual safety metric reporting), etc.
Below is a brief sample of a Legal & Other Requirements Procedure should include:
- PURPOSE AND SCOPE
- To document the process for identifying and accessing legal and other requirements to which the organization subscribes that are applicable to the occupational health and safety requirements of its activities, products or services.
2.1 Applicable Occupational Safety and Health Requirements: Regulatory and legislative occupational safety and health requirements that the organization identifies, through regulatory/legislative interpretations and best professional judgment, as applying to the occupational safety and health requirements of the location’s activities, products, or services.
2.2 Applicable Other Requirements: Non-legal requirements such as corporate directives, voluntary safety programs through industry associations, etc.
3.1 Safety Manager:
3.1.1 Work with the corporate safety department, and, as appropriate, General Counsel to identify the legal and other requirements to which the organization subscribes that are applicable to the occupational safety and health aspects of the location’s activities, products, or services.
3.1.2 Access to current occupational safety and health rules, regulations, and other requirements will be provided via the Internet (regulatory agency web-sites, etc.), and through the corporate occupational safety and health personnel.
3.1.3 At least annually, review applicable health and safety requirements. More frequent reviews may be performed when:
- A new requirement is promulgated or an existing requirement changes
- A new operation or practice is planned
- An existing operation or practice is to be modified
4.0 Summary of Jurisdictional Safety Regulatory Requirements (list by bullet items).
5.0 Summary of Non-Regulatory (Other) Safety Requirements (list by bullet items).
In conclusion, you want to make sure that the procedure has a Review/Revision Log attached to it. Doing so will showcase the continuous improvement on this particular procedure and help other managers in the future be able to understand what and why changes were made. Keep in mind that all procedures must, at a minimum, have an annual review for accuracy and effectiveness.