Chemical industry sees compliance as an essential part

2023-09-15 14:47:49

Compliance in the chemical industry is of relevant importance in the current scenario of highly regulated businesses, as it is necessary to be aligned with local, national and international regulations that govern the production, transportation, storage and disposal of chemical products. Knowing how to navigate the maze of strict laws and regulations is crucial to ensuring employee safety, protecting the environment and safeguarding a company’s reputation against possible penalties.

In 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that increased civil penalties for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, Emergency Planning Act, and Community Right to Know. Despite the high value of fines imposed on industries that neglect environmental compliance, the damage to reputation weighs heavily on an organization.

According to José Rosenberg, CEO of Katrium Chemical Industries (RJ), environmental compliance is not an option, but a law. “Complying with laws, regulations, rules and policies must be the foundation of internal and business operations. In addition to maintaining legality, it is essential to establish standards, guidelines and, above all, a commitment to a set of values ​​– with strict ethical rules for internal and external conduct”.

Almost four years ago, the company launched an integrity program that includes ethical conduct manual, supplier policy, reporting channel and other instances that clarify rules for receiving gifts, gifts, hospitality, etc. “Katrium has zero tolerance for anything that is not correct, whether in personal relationships, in commercial dealings or in relationships with the surrounding population and government bodies. It’s a great way to expand the value of the service or product to the customer, giving the customer’s voice a greater reach in terms of their experience with the company”, says Rosenberg.

The executive points out six necessary steps to establish efficient compliance management in the chemical industry:

Create a compliance policy. “Whether it is outsourcing compliance management, or establishing a department to specifically take care of issues involving compliance, it is essential to determine what is permitted and what is prohibited, what the commitments of the company and employees are, and establish regulations that define the character ethics of the business in question, and assume transparency in handling sensitive issues, including creating a reporting channel so that nothing goes unnoticed”.

Always be aligned with legislation. “Complying with laws, regulations, rules and policies must be the foundation of internal and business operations. In addition to maintaining legality, it is essential to establish standards, guidelines and, above all, a commitment to a set of values ​​– with strict ethical rules for internal and external conduct. ”.

Define risk areas. “It is essential to map which areas or instances are most susceptible to non-conformities, and, therefore, should receive double attention so that they do not become the focus of problems or concerns. Staying proactive in managing environmental compliance, for example, requires a deep understanding of what needs to go right, not just what could go wrong.”

Establish a risk communication standard. “It is essential that the chemical industry adopts a training standard so that its employees have broad knowledge about the risks of handling chemical products. Likewise, it is also important that employees adopt communication protocols in case there is any event that deviates from the protocol and represents a danger. Companies that produce and distribute chemical products must follow strict protocols and have safety data sheets and product labeling available.”

Integrate environmental health and safety. “All processes must be documented in ‘Standard Operating Procedures’ and reviewed frequently to ensure compliance with any new or updated regulations. A company with commercial activities that have ecological implications must communicate its environmental and sustainability standards well – always being open to criticism. This has a positive effect on your credibility and relationships with your stakeholders.”

Record keeping. “Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of compliance activities is essential to compliance, as well as tracking inspections, audits, training sessions and incidents. These records serve as proof of commitment to compliance and can be invaluable during regulatory inspections or audits.”

Rosenberg states that, by transforming convictions into a document accessible to all employees and suppliers, the industry is actively contributing so that each individual can improve themselves or, at the very least, represent the company they work for as faithfully as possible. “The established guidelines not only guide corporate decisions, but the behavior of all employees regarding what is considered ethical, such as the integrity of internal actions and the honesty with which customers, employees, suppliers, the press, public bodies, shareholders and communities areas surrounding the factory are treated”, says the executive.

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