Since the creation of EPA in 1970, companies have seen growth in the number of environmental regulations, tied key performance indicators more closely to regulations, and shown global acceptance that government-led initiatives are required to drive change.
These conditions led businesses to adopt EHS Compliance Programs: to meet the requirements of increased environmental regulation at the global, national, and local levels and have the processes in place for employees to be accountable to corporate goals when it comes to compliance.
In this blog series, RegScan will examine the six pillars of an EHS compliance program. The first four are implementation pillars meant to provide consistency across a business, create employee-level accountability, and offer transparency to regulators, auditors, and stakeholders. The last two are verification pillars which demonstrates that the organization is serious and committed to implementing its Compliance Program fully and effectively.
Partnerships: Create and Sustain a Successful EHS Compliance Program
Findings and Corrective Actions comprise the final pillar of the EHS Compliance Program. You may balk at the thought of “standardizing” your audit findings and corrective actions: you may claim that your site is “different” and that it is not feasible to pre-define what your findings and corrective actions could be. But consider the big picture when it comes to EHS compliance and review the example below before you make any final judgements.
In conclusion, we have reviewed the six pillars in detail – we have implemented (Pillars 1-4) and we have verified (Pillars 5-6) our EHS Compliance Program. The remaining question is: Is the program successful? The six pillars create an EHS Compliance Program that is strong, transparent, and consistent, but this does not guarantee success. These pillars must be built upon a strong base: an EHS Management Information System (or EMIS).
Information is power. But if EHS regulatory content is left in a spreadsheet, you are still missing the power of consolidated information, metrics, and dashboards. Combining regulatory content from across the six pillars with the power of an EMIS platform will put you and your organization on the way to a successful EHS Compliance Program.
Why is combining great content with technology important? The EHS Compliance Program is more than one piece of information working on its own: it is the complete picture of compliance by location, region, or company. The questions you should ask yourself include: How do I know my business is in compliance? How does my business demonstrate compliance? Can I rely on my current processes to confidently and easily provide evidence that my business is in compliance? Now that you have components in place to support your EHS Compliance Program, there are many benefits to having one system to manage all your EHS compliance content in one place.
Benefit #1: Consistency
Think about these compliance pillars or components across multiple sites, whether it is five sites in one state, or 500 sites across the globe. Managing data can be a nightmare and you and your business will want accurate Reporting Metrics or Dashboards.
Having consistency available through data in an EMIS platform provides for streamlined data entry, data manipulation, and reporting. Effectively capturing that data allows for an apples-to-apples comparison at the end of the day, month, or year. Data consistency goes a LONG way in demonstrating compliance.
Benefit #2: Accountability
The ability to assign compliance tasks, inspections, or audit findings to employees allows for accountability of the compliance program at all levels. Trying to track accountability without an EMIS platform can be a nightmare for most organizations. Accountability supports employee participation as part of the EHS Compliance Program.
Benefit #3: An End-to-End Process
Organizations that have a holistic process are more easily able to provide evidence that an organization is doing all they can to comply with regulations. If there is ever a need to demonstrate EHS compliance, the end-to-end process shows a good faith effort to comply. When you are using a complete system, it is also easy to see where there might be opportunities for improvement as well.
RegScan partners with some of the best EHS Management Information System (or EMIS) providers in the world. Our regulatory content seamlessly integrates with most EMIS platforms and we work closely with our shared clients to make it a good user experience.