by Brittany Tofinchio Palmer
The ISO 14.001:2004 and new 2015 Standards require that organizations evaluate laws that are applicable to their operations. Regulatory agencies around the world conduct audits and inspections to determine whether organizations are in compliance with applicable environmental, health, and safety laws. Today, many organizations have places of business in more than one country or in more than one area of a country. Each country, and in many cases, each state or province within a country, have their own laws that organizations are required to comply with. The regulatory landscape is constantly changing, which makes it near impossible to keep up with the latest laws and amendments to laws, let alone which of those may be applicable to an organization’s operations. This is why having a good legal register is of paramount importance.
Legal registers contain a list of laws that are applicable to an organization’s operations and can be provide information at the federal, state, and/or municipal levels. They can be tailored and built with varying degrees of information in order to meet compliance standards in a particular country. For example, one country may only require that an organization maintain a list of laws it has found to be applicable while another may require that list plus the specific sections of each law that are applicable. In addition, an organization may want as much detail as possible in their register to make it easier to maintain compliance, regardless of what a country or state requires. This could include not only the applicable laws and sections but the text of the particular section or a summary of the requirements and tasks that the company needs to do in order to maintain compliance with that section.