Why are some EHS regulatory changes so hard to track

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Expanding on “Step 3. Monitor for changes” from https://nimonik.com/2019/01/how-to-ensure-regulatory-compliance/

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For certain jurisdictions, like Canada and Australia, it’s relatively easy to keep up-to-date with regulatory changes. But for most jurisdictions, it’s hard to keep up with the pace of publication, or even to find a list of changes. Effective regulatory monitoring requires, experience and a keen eye for details. For every jurisdiction you wish to monitor, you should be familiar with:

  • How frequently the legislation changes in that jurisdiction
  • The mechanisms the jurisdiction uses to update its legislation. For example, where and how is the change first announced in a jurisdiction
  • Steps that happen between the announcement of change and effect of change. For e.g. delayed effective date, effective date requiring an additional announcement, conditional effect* (change X comes into force if change Y comes into force before date Z)
  • Availability of consolidated text (the law with its amendments incorporated into a single up-to-date text).
  • Availability of announcements of changes – Can you find them at all? How many places do you have to go to to get all the changes? Are they available online for free or a fee or on request only?
  • Language in which the changes are published – Do you know that language?

Examples of jurisdictions that are hard to track

United States 

Code of Federal Regulations
Hard to track because of the number of changes.

Over the last three months, Nimonik published more than three hundred proposed and in force changes to the US federal regulations. That’s an average of more than three regulatory changes every day. That’s a lot for anyone to keep track of, especially if you don’t have some kind of automated notification system in place to help you.

Kentucky

Kentucky Administrative Regulations
Hard to track because of  the number of steps that happen between the announcement and the effect of change.

Changes to the Kentucky Administrative Regulations are published in the Administrative Register of Kentucky.

However, a change that’s published in the Register as a proposal might be later approved and filed in that version, or it might be re-published with new amendments before being approved and filed. If or when a change is finally approved and filed, a one-line notice will appear in a different section of the Register, telling you that the change was approved (but not what was changed!) and when the change is in effect.

If or when a change is finally approved and filed, a one-line notice appears in a different section of the Register, telling you that the change was approved but not what was changed!

Kentucky legal register snapshot

If or when a change is finally approved and filed, a one-line notice will appear in a different section of the Register, telling you that the change was approved but not what was changed!

As a result, if you’re monitoring a certain regulation for changes, you need to review several sections of the Register for changes to your regulation of interest. And if you find any such changes, you need to follow them through any number of proposal and revision steps, always watching for the final notice that tells you that the changes were approved. The notices of approval repeat from one Register issue to another, so you may also waste time reviewing the same notices in different Register issues.

This is a lot of detail to keep track of. If you’re familiar with common tools such as regular expressions, you can save yourself some effort. You’ll also save yourself some time if you set up a way to go from a notice of approval (which doesn’t tell you the details of a change) to the original proposal and revisions.

Poland

Acts and Regulations
Hard to track because of its unique process for announcing changes, non-availability of  consolidated text and the fact that everything is announced in the local language.

Changes to legislation in Poland are published in the legal information system ISAP. Information on the changes is only available in Polish. If you don’t speak Polish, you could use machine translation tools to see a version of the changes in English, but the translation quality will vary and it may be hard to find the information that you’re looking for.

Some of the legislative processes, like the repeal of certain regulations, aren’t clearly shown in the available documents. For example, when one act repeals another act, it is unclear whether all the regulations under the repealed act too will be repealed. Also, there is no information regarding the same in the new act either.

poland legal register snapshot

Please note that Act A , Act B, and Regulation A terms have been used for simplicity

Poland legal register screenshot

Poland legal register screenshot

Please note that Act A , Act B, and Regulation A terms have been used for simplicity

This makes it hard to understand how those processes work. Thus, you have to take extra steps, consulting multiple sources of information, in order to get a full picture of the regulatory changes in Poland.

In addition, there may be multiple stages between the announcement of a repeal, and when the repeal takes effect. Finally, in Poland some of the legislation available online doesn’t incorporate all past amendments. As a result, a regulation that you’re reviewing may not be the latest version, and you may need to consult the legislation and its amendments separately in order to get a clear picture of what your obligations are.

Achieve comprehensive compliance with Nimonik

Nimonik exists to help organizations comply with regulatory requirements – leading to less environmental damage, better worker safety and higher quality products. We can help you with:

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  • Receive alerts when the specific applicable requirements change or new ones get introduced.
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