Are you in compliance with all the regulations that impact your business? Do you even know all the agencies that might regulate you? If you do, how do you keep up with changes to those requirements that may put you in danger of a serious violation?
There are safety regulations, environmental rules, labor laws, and many more including new health care regulations; and they come at you from the state and federal level, and sometimes from the local level. In fact, the laws may be different at one job site than they are at another. How you structure your business will also bring certain requirements such as bylaws, operating agreements and record keeping.
NOWRA is a good resource for onsite professionals. The State Regulations and Resources page on its website includes federal and state industry information, including a database of state wastewater regulatory documents.
The U.S. Department of Labor can help with its FirstStep employment law advisor. It will give you a good idea of how federal law applies to your business, including record keeping, reporting, and even which posters you must display. The Labor Department has a similar page for OSHA compliance, though it is provided only as a resource to get you started.
OSHA offers a free On-Site Consultation program. According to OSHA, the program conducted about 30,000 visits to small businesses in fiscal 2012. As a voluntary program, it does not result in citations or penalties. “Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs,” according to OSHA.
The Small Business Administration also has a business law and regulations page that lists sources of information for a wide variety of regulatory areas — from advertising and employment law to intellectual property and privacy. It can also help you find what local licenses and permits you need — just enter your ZIP code and type of business to get started.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses is another resource for information and also advocates for small businesses. It regularly lists pending and proposed regulations and has a quarterly regulatory newsletter. While some of its services require membership, its website includes pertinent information about ongoing regulatory matters.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to stay up to date on compliance and regulatory matters:
- Regularly check OSHA/NIOSH and other regulatory agency websites for regulator updates.
- Hire a regulatory guidance assistant to keep you and your business on track.
- Join national, state and local industry and business groups.
- Work with other local companies to see how they handle regulatory changes.
- Hire a regulatory management company to assist you.
How do you ensure you're in compliance with all regulations that affect your business? Post a comment below.