Regulatory Compliance

All businesses must adhere to a certain set of regulations, which largely depend on the type of business, services provided, and function of employees. Virtually all companies within the United States must meet certain standards that the federal government requires. These standards encompass hiring practices, termination, discipline, retention, employee privacy, and workplace safety. If a company fails to adhere to a regulation, whether wittingly or unwittingly, legal punishment may be inflicted.

Compliance may span thousands of individual obligations and statutes during day-to-day operations. Successful regulatory compliance has increased in difficulty since so many regulations have been put in place. To ensure conformity, many workplaces employ a regulatory compliance officer, whose responsibility is to make sure that the business adheres to all applicable regulations. In this way companies can protect against unintentional failure to comply.

One of the most important universal regulations is that employers are required to provide a safe working environment for all of their employees. This commitment is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s mission is to ensure that employees are able to work in a healthful and safe environment. It not only establishes and enforces standards, but also provides assistance, education, and training. Once OSHA has confirmed that an employer has complied with standards for training, safety, and hazard avoidance, the employer receives a certificate of compliance.

Definition of Regulation

A regulation is a requirement that is officially established and published for public reference. It serves as criteria for determining whether employers are indeed adhering to standards. OSHA’s standards are published in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Standards are separated by category:

  • Construction
  • General Industry
  • Maritime

The CFR refers to permanent rules that are published in the U.S. Federal Register. This register is a legal journal maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration and is released every business day. 

Definition of Compliance

Generally, compliance indicates adherence to a rule such as an established law, standard, policy, or specification. Regulatory compliance is a goal that organizations attempt to achieve as they strive to be aware of, and comply with, regulations and laws that are relevant to the conduction of their operations and services. A business should put measures in place in order to reach this goal. Possible measures include implementing company policies and codes of practice. 

How Regulatory Compliance is Enforced

OSHA enforces its regulations by conducting inspections which are routine and often without advance notice. The administration is committed to strong yet fair enforcements of their health and safety requirements for the workplace. OSHA representatives will check that the company’s functions are developed to help prevent work-related illness or injury. These inspectors, known as compliance safety and health officers, are safety professionals and industrial hygienists who assure compliance. They also help workplaces reduce on-site hazards

Inspections of regulatory compliance are based on the following order of priority:

  1. Imminent danger situations
  2. Severe injuries and illnesses
  3. Worker complaints
  4. Referrals
  5. Targeted inspections
  6. Follow-up inspections 

Workers may file a complaint and require OSHA to conduct an inspection if they believe there’s a hazard in their workplace or that their employer is not adhering to OSHA standards. Employers do have the right to require an inspection warrant before OSHA representatives enter the worksite. Since OSHA inspections often happen without warning, you can prepare ahead of time and ensure your workplace is compliant with a compliance inspection checklist.

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