(This article is reprinted with permission from Enhesa. Read about more regulatory actions on the Enhesa blog Insights.)
Where EHS Regulations Stand Today and How to Step Forward Tomorrow
If you felt like 2020-2021 was a blur of never-ending (and ever-changing) EHS regulations, you’re not alone. From constantly changing COVID-19 requirements to aggressive air emissions cut-offs, the past two years sent a whirlwind of compliance issues around the world. In this time period alone, our experts tracked more than 96,000 new or changed requirements globally. And we don’t expect these winds of regulatory change to die down anytime soon.
So how can EHS professionals get ahead of this global storm? Weather-proofing your compliance program for what’s coming next – with what you know today. Below, we look at which of 2021’s operational compliance trends are poised for big impact on your business in 2022.
Focusing Your Efforts in 2022: Cut Through the Regulatory Fog
Of course, every category counts when you want to maintain compliance – but some are more prominent than others. As we step into 2022, it’s clear to see that certain EHS regulations stand out more than others – and will continue to shape the regulatory landscape next year and beyond.
Among the many regulatory developments to stay ahead of next year, our experts pinpoint three key trends to prioritize in your global compliance program: Air emissions management, major regulatory regime changes, and (almost) post-pandemic safety requirements.
Operational EHS Regulations to Act on in 2022
Air/Climate/Energy regulations: On the rise
Stay on top of air emissions management – Across the globe, air emissions management consistently topped our charts of changes in EHS regulations. Globally, our experts tracked 52,598 total requirements in air, climate, and energy this year. Of those, 87 percent were due to regulatory changes in air emissions management since only January 2020.
In the EU, this rise will continue, driven by the EU Green Deal’s region-wide carbon-reduction goals, state-by-state program progress in the United States, and China’s reinforced focus on VOC fugitive emissions.
Regulatory overhauls around the world
Ready your business for international impact – This year, the United States wasn’t the only place that got a fresh perspective on compliance. Worldwide, we saw the start of big changes to some other major regulatory regimes, including the slicing and dicing of the Russian Regulatory GuillotineTM and steps toward India’s long-awaited labor legislation updates.
While we wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop on proposed EHS regulations, international companies need to take steps to prepare for any cross-border ripple effect.
Return to work after COVID-19 and its changing challenges
Keep in step with constant changes – From locking down facilities to logging on from home offices, COVID-19 introduced a whole new definition for workplace safety. In just the first 8 months of 2021, our experts advised on over 33,000 occupational health & safety requirements – 25 percent more than last year.
And between return-to-work guidelines, teleworking challenges, vaccine queries and the new clean-air conundrum, the constant regulatory changes will only keep coming. This year, we’ve spotted over 4,000 regulatory changes in these categories across the globe. That’s more than any other category in operations compliance. And to stay ahead, your business will need to stay agile.
Be Prepared Before EHS Regulations Are in Place
EHS regulations don’t start out that way. Long before they become laws or directives, compliance requirements travel a long road from policies and proposals to being put in place. This year alone, our regulatory experts have already pinpointed more than 4,000 global issues for near-future operations compliance, including proposals, guidance and policies. (Even more if you count the jurisprudence and background news they track too.) Each one could translate into countless new requirements for your company.
But you can already make these upcoming issues part of your program. The key to ongoing compliance is getting in on that lead time.
Potential changes to come: A look up the regulatory pipeline
Head’s Up on Hot Topics: Our Experts’ Picks to Prepare your Program
The saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.” But we all know that regulatory compliance works differently. EHS professionals can’t bail every time there’s a new hot topic to address in your facilities. Instead, you have to prepare for every way trends could turn up the temperature on your regulatory compliance.
From this year’s support calls, tailored guidance and custom reports, we’ve called out some of the most-discussed subjects with our multi-national clients. Does your compliance program have a leg-up on the six leading topics below?
The rise of remote audits – If the COVID-19 pandemic made remote audits a more viable option, its ROI advantages for certain processes keep companies opting for them today. But before you jump on board, you’ll need to check if this type of assessment fits your business before you jump on board.
Teleworking worries – Today, teleworking brings new unforeseen hazards in these non-conform workspaces, such as ergonomics issues and e-presenteeism pressure. Bringing compliance home means bridging the gaps found in most facilities’ risk assessments.
Stress & mental health hazards – Mental health issues continued to extend the scope of occupational health and safety in 2021. And proposals like the EU’s Right to Disconnect show that regulators will continue pushing businesses to enhance programs with this topic in mind.
Surging ISO certification – While some see ISO certification as a hoop to jump through, a rising number of companies have used it to leap ahead. More and more, benefits such as improved performance and decreased costs are convincing businesses to certified their EHS management systems.
Understanding ESG – This past year, it seems that ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) strategy surged from buzzword to common business practice in the blink of an eye. Yet many companies are still unclear on how to get it right. The good news? EHS metrics are a great start.
Corporate reporting: The core of compliance – Your compliance program is only as strong as the data it stands on. Today, reinforcing Corporate reporting is more important than ever. But for compliance metrics to make your business better, they’ll need to focus on what can make the most impact.