Time Sensitive Compliance Obligations

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Compliance can be a moving target. Not only are regulations and documents changing on an ongoing basis, many requirements are tied to specific dates and situations.

At a recent conference I was speaking with a consultant who was working on a large construction project. This construction project had some work being done near wetlands and the project had specific permits to build near those wetlands. However, the right to build near the wetlands was tied to specific dates when migratory birds and other species would not be present and when construction could be done in a safe way. Different parts of the project could be worked on a different times. Coordinating this with construction schedules and ensuring no work was done outside of the specified times proved to be challenging. The consultant was using a gigantic Excel sheet that was shared with the engineering and planning team, but it was far from ideal and it was prone to error. They had to chase after crews, cross check with different departments and constantly be on the lookout for non-compliance.

On a similar note, another person was recently explaining to me how they got a non-compliance. Their crews were doing some basic work on a site and a government inspector was driving by. However, buried on page 191 of a PDF titled “Master Schedule of Standards and Conditions” issued by the Alberta government, it is specified that work cannot be done north of a specific road after January 15th. The document in question states, “Between January 15 and April 30, the Disposition Holder must not conduct any activities for all areas North of Highway (HWY) #1”. One of the company’s crews decided to make some small changes to an oil well and they were onsite, north of this highway when an inspector drove by. Capturing this requirement and communicating it with all staff is tough, real tough.

Catching these date related obligations is challenging and requires you to take a Comprehensive Compliance approach. That approach is outlined in this presentation, but it can be summarized as a Plan-Check-Do-Act process that forces you to go through all of your potential compliance obligations. Nimonik is a firm believer that there is a better way than Excel or Word documents. It takes time to setup your Compliance Obligations properly, but if you do it right you will find that you save a tremendous amount of headaches, fines and problems.