Best Practice Solutions Series Volume 10: Getting Support on EHS Regulatory Questions

by Tjeerd Hendel-Blackford 06 Jun. 2019

Greetings reader! Thanks for joining us for the tenth volume of the 12 Best Practices of Compliance Solutions Series.

In this series we will address twelve of the key challenges you face, one-by-one, with best-practice advice derived from over a quarter of a century of support to global industry!

Volume 1, regarding staffing challenges, can be accessed here.

Volume 2, on the challenge of mergers and acquisitions, can be accessed here.

Volume 3, on getting leadership commitment, can be accessed here.

Volume 4, on ongoing compliance management, can be accessed here.

Volume 5, on rolling out a global program, can be accessed here.

Volume 6, on self-assessing/auditing, can be accessed here.

Volume 7, on applicability, can be accessed here.

Volume 8, on understanding the law, can be accessed here.

Volume 9, on keeping up with regulatory change, can be accessed here.

In this volume, we examine the challenge of obtaining ad-hoc support on regulatory issues and questions.

Challenge:

You can have all the right systems, services and/or tools in place to help manage EHS compliance at your global facilities on an on-going basis; there will always be very unique situations where the interpretation of the legal requirement is unclear or ambiguous.

Typical questions that might arise include the following:

  • We would like to know the requirements to get an emergency generator in an emergency into one of our facilities in Japan. Specifically,
  • Do we require a permit to install an emergency generator?
  • Do we need to contact the authorities if they intend to install an emergency generator?
  • What are the requirements for the emergency generator itself?
  • What requirements need to be followed for the installation of an emergency generator?
  • We want to know if sprinklers are required for our Factory as per the Karachi Building Control laws in Pakistan. Is there any other clause/law which specifies to have a sprinkler system?
  • We have been advised by our architect in Frankfurt, Germany that Germany requires that none of our employees sit within 50cm of a window in our offices.
  • Can you advise if this is the case? If so, provide the law or regulation that determines this—I have been unable to find reference within our contracted service information in this regard.
  • What is considered homeworking in Turkey; is there a formal process to define what is considered homeworking? What equipment do we have to provide to staff based on the hours that they work in the office and in the field?
  • In Ukraine, we have a low-risk office space with approximately 15 full time employees and 7 full time contractors. The legislation states that depending on the number of employees, the facility must establish a work safety service. Does this have to be a set number of hours a month/year or are there any baseline requirements for this?

Each of these situations poses the following specific challenges to companies:

  • Where to get a rapid, accurate and detailed response to the question for the particular jurisdiction concerned from a local EHS legal expert.
  • How to get a response in both English and the local language to ensure that the issue can be dealt with across the organization.
  • Law firms can be very expensive to get responses from.

Best Practice

Best-practice for global multinationals is straightforward: Supplement your ongoing EHS compliance management program with a Regulatory Support service that covers all the countries and regions that you have operations in..

Any Regulatory Support service contracted would need to have the following features as a minimum:

  • Timely advice.
  • Provided by local regulatory experts for all the locations where you operate.
  • Delivered in English and/or local language as appropriate.
  • Be set up as an hour–based to retainer to ensure the availability of analysts to respond to questions without lengthy, unnecessary contract negotiations.
  • Support offered across time zones.