Ramzy Yakan, customer success expert at Nimonik, had the pleasure of attending and representing Nimonik at the Canect conference in Toronto last week. The conference was a great learning experience and many interesting speakers took the stage including our very own Jonathan Brun. Ramzy shares some valuable items he learned:
A company on its compliance journey must consider the following important questions:
What are my objectives?
At a high level of abstraction, environmental laws strive to prevent pollution and protect the natural environment while health and safety laws aim to make the workplace secure from serious injury or death. A company’s objectives may align with the overarching purpose of the regulations, but sometimes a company’s goals and motivation can stem from wanting to have protection in case of an investigation or an audit. Whatever the motivation is, it is very important for a company and its processes to be aligned with its objectives. Misalignment increases the probability of risks occurring.
What is required by law?
An analysis of what regulators will be involved (based on jurisdiction and industry) and what laws are applicable to the operations is necessary here. Oftentimes legal consultants and industry experts are used to answer these questions. In practice, part of the process for determining health and safety requirements was described by one of the speakers in the following way: A consultant must walk around the company’s plant and ask employees “How can people die here?”.
How will I achieve my objectives?
Creating effective processes that are proactive and aligned with the company’s objectives is key for success. Measuring performance is an important part of an effective process as it allows companies to identify their weak points and continually adapt and improve. Life is full of uncertainty and risks. If a company is not taking an ever-evolving proactive approach to mitigate these, it is more likely to fall victim to them.
How will I be able to demonstrate due diligence?
Mistakes are bound to happen. The aim is for a company to put itself in a position where it can prove to a judge that it acted reasonably and did its due diligence to prevent the mistake as best as it could have. If it can do so, it will be acquitted. The theme echoed across several of the conference speeches emphasized the significance of proactive actions and thorough due diligence. Many examples were given to illustrate this point. One particularly interesting scenario involves the hiring of a contractor to perform work on a company’s premises. Despite the assumption that the contractor would bear the sole liability for any environmental violation, that is not always how it plays out in court. The hiring company still has a responsibility to oversee the work to demonstrate that they have not been neglectful. Negligence in supervising the contractor can potentially be used against the hiring company in legal proceedings. The speed at which a company reports an event can also have a huge impact in court. The faster you report an incident, the more it shows that you’re doing your due diligence and are on top of your responsibilities.
The Nimonik software tracks responsible parties and includes reports that can be used as a paper trail to demonstrate the due diligence being conducted. Paying for our software and using it properly demonstrates an extra level of commitment to compliance. If the software is being used correctly, it can potentially be presented as evidence to help paint the picture of a company’s proactive stance towards compliance in a court setting.
Companies who are in heavily regulated industries may sometimes feel that the regulations are resource consuming and restrictive. In reality, their purpose is to provide a framework for them to grow as fast as possible in a sustainable and safe manner. Without such regulations, companies risk growing in a chaotic way that may be very beneficial in the short-run but come with a whole lot of negative consequences.
Download and explore the slides from Jonathan Brun’s captivating presentation on the “Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Compliance” at CANECT below.