According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, antiquated technology utilized by various government departments is costing nearly $60 billion a year to maintain. In order for companies to remain competitive and sustain viable operations over the long-term, response planning technologies and compliance verification processes must be periodically evaluated and upgraded.
Preparedness, emergency management, and regulatory compliance is a dynamic endeavor. The increasing number of stringent regulatory requirements compounds the complexity of industrial operations. Many companies may believe they have the compliance component of their business under control. Others take a reactionary role rather than a proactive approach. Without a targeted response planning and preparedness approach, fines and devastating incidents can negatively impact company profitability.
As with rapidly advancing technology, company-wide preparedness efforts and emergency management priorities are inherently dynamic, creating a challenging atmosphere for complying with an array of regulations. Costly fines continually result from the lack of an implemented, thorough, or effective response planning and regulatory compliance programs. Advanced response planning systems that utilize database technologies can provide customization, providing the ability for companies to adapt their preparedness and emergency management to specific conditions and regulations. This cost-saving technology, at a minimum, enables companies to:
- Document critical data necessary for site-specific responses
- Easily incorporate new locations during growth
- Validate continually evolving regulatory requirements
Response planning systems with database technologies can include regulatory tracking benefits, easing the duties associated with maintaining compliance. Unlike spreadsheets or word processing programs, these advanced systems can easily leverage duplicate regulatory data across an enterprise. The ability to eliminate the need for administrative redundancies across converging compliance requirements is financially beneficial for organizations that have multiple applicable regulatory requirements. Utilizing a database limits the duplication of tasks generated when multiple agencies have regulations that are related to the same subject matter.
Modernizing compliance tracking efforts can improve overall preparedness levels. When operations and facilities expand beyond a few locations, a methodological tracking system can be utilized to itemize federal, state, and local regulations, and include categorical information that satisfies that regulation. A tracking system should, at a minimum contain the following components:
- Operational categories: Categories can range from air quality and hazardous materials, to construction safety and general safety and health. Depending on the detail required by the regulations, further breakouts by subcategories may also be required.
- Applicable Regulation Level: Regulations should be further broken down to federal, state, or local regulation categories.
- Time/Date Stamping: The time and date that each regulation was last updated.
- Compliance Feedback: Applicable notes regarding compliance or non-compliance.
- Industry Standard: Apply best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
- Cross-reference: Itemize list of additional regulations that may be applicable to the information provided.
- Facility Compliance responsibility: Identify person responsible for compliance for each regulatory requirement.
- Action Item Reporting: Provides a list of outstanding and completed action items, along with due dates and person(s) assigned. Reports should have filters to customize queries as required by the users.
- Search Functionality: Create the ability to search database for keywords and phrases associated with regulations.
Adaptability is a crucial emergency management attribute. Companies should take the same approach when it comes to the tools utilized for their emergency management program. As new and innovative tools are developed, companies must not be left with antiquated, costly solutions to company-wide preparedness and regulatory compliance.