Managing all of your company's business information is no simple task. The amount of data that businesses must handle daily is rapidly increasing, while environmental, health and safety (EHS) legal registers are becoming more voluminous and complex. If you are a compliance manager or someone who has been tasked with interpreting the legal jargon included in EHS legislation, then you may sometimes find yourself pulling your hair out while attempting to "figure out" what it all means for your company in practice. To make matters worse, there is always the dreaded possibility of hefty fines and legal action if the requirements are not followed when they change.
Understanding legal registers
A legal register is a list of all the government-published Acts, Laws, Regulations, or other types of legal content that apply to a company's sector or type of business. Not only should it say which parts of the law are applicable to the çompanys' work, but it should also explain in plain language what these rules mean for the company's day-to-day operations. Although there is no international or domestic law that requires companies to keep a legal register, it may be necessary, especially if your company is ISO 14001 or ISO 45001 certified or is applying for certification.
Evaluating your company's legal compliance is a multi-stage process that can take a significant amount of time. The steps to taking this process include:
Assessing the legal risks associated with your business practices;
Compiling a list of applicable laws to your company;
Building a framework to evaluate whether or not your company is meeting the requirements; and
Monitoring the applicability of the laws as your operations evolve or regulations change.
Ways to soothe common compliance headaches
Identifying and interpreting parts of the law relevant to your business
EHS laws can be extremely dry and dizzyingly technical with an endless library of references, cross-references, legal jargon, and vague definitions. It can be time-consuming to go through hundreds of legal requirements and figure out which ones apply to your company and which ones don't. This is why many organisations turn to external legal register providers to help them be aware and understand their legal obligations and get advice on how to make sure they are compliant.
Dealing with multi-jurisdictional legal registers
For multinational organisations, navigating hundreds of constantly shifting legal obligations in multiple locations spread across the world is an enormously complex undertaking. Some organisations take a company-wide approach to managing EHS compliance to give them complete visibility into the compliance status of each site. They can create a country-specific legal register database to assess, record, and verify a site's compliance status at any given moment rather than waiting for an EHS audit. By taking this approach, companies can enhance their EHS performance and develop a corporate EHS compliance culture across all locations.
Tracking and monitoring legislative changes
To fulfil your legal requirements, companies must periodically evaluate their compliance obligations. This process involves maintaining knowledge of the compliance status, documenting their evaluations, and taking action where necessary. This is a big enough job in itself but is made even harder by the fact that EHS laws are constantly changing. When organisations stay abreast of legislative changes, they are able to provide a continuous view of the status of the evaluation process and the status of compliance for each of their site at both regional and international levels.
Your regulatory compliance in safe hands
If you decide to outsource the handling of your company's legal register, you want to be sure that it’s to a company you can trust. And there are few who can claim such a proven track record in regulatory compliance as ESC. Our EHS Legal Register service has been supporting numerous organisations from sectors such as the tech, oil & gas, manufacturing and other industries to meet regulatory standards in Asia and beyond. In doing so, we have developed a strong working relationship with the various national government agencies charged with enforcing the laws.
In letting us take charge of your legal register, you can dedicate more time to your organisation’s core activities, safe in the knowledge that your EHS compliance is taken care of.