Over the last couple of decades, the rules and regulations governing mining and other industries has become increasingly complicated. It is not unusual for a company to have over a hundred separate permits and programs to manage for a particular operation. Each of these permits may have many obligations and requirements associated with them. Keeping track of all the legal obligations associated with these permits and programs can seem overwhelming at times and requires some good organizational skills to manage them effectively. I once had a boss who said that the three most important things to maintain your license to operate are: Compliance, Compliance, and Compliance! A complete and detailed obligation register is essential to consistently achieve compliance.
So how do you best manage and track all of these obligations? The most effective way that I have found is to develop and maintain a detailed obligation register. An obligation register can take many forms. It may be as simple as a table created with a spreadsheet that you post to your office wall, or a more intricate database with integrated reminders to keep you informed of upcoming commitments. The key is to carefully go through your permits, understand what the requirements and obligations are, and compile a comprehensive list of actions needed to maintain compliance.
There are several popular out-of-the-box software packages that will help you manage your legal and other requirements. These software packages are somewhat versatile and can track not only your environmental commitments, but also your safety and health and community related obligations. My first experience utilizing one of these software packages was with a product called Intelex. BSI Entropy Software makes a similar database product that also tracks legal and other obligations. Either of these solutions will help to organize your obligations and make managing your environmental commitments much simpler. While both of these products have the same objective, the interfaces and functionality is quite different.
Before investing the time and money required to implement one of these software packages, explore what others in your industry are using. Find out what they like and what they don’t. Make sure the solution meets your needs and will be simple to use. If it isn’t simple and straight-forward, employees won’t use it, and your efforts will be for naught.
How do you manage and track the environmental obligations at your organization? Please feel free to comment and provide feedback, as with all of my blogs.