The Road To Compliance
When it comes to compliance, many businesses understand that servicing and maintenance is a priority but, there is some confusion around what should or shouldn’t be done as part of the maintenance programme and what good actually looks like. Here Brian Imrie, operations director for the facilities management division of adi Group discusses the importance of compliance and highlights five of the top considerations.
• Legislation – are you up to date with current legislative requirements for your business and employees? Associated Codes of Practice (ACoP) give guidance on industry standards and legislation so it’s important to keep abreast of what’s happening within the market. It is surprising just how many businesses are unaware of their responsibilities and obligations to ensure safe and compliant business operations.
• Maintenance – in the eyes of the law, every employer must be able to demonstrate that they are providing responsible management systems. For example, relying on an external service provider to remind a business when the next service is due, is not taking ownership of the issue and therefore could be classed as non-compliant. A simple solution would be the creation of a paper or electronic framework, that identifies what the compliance task is, what and when an action is required and nominating a key individual for coordinating the task.
NB – The nominated individual / person must be competent and the work completed within a reasonable timeframe.
• Auditable records – always create an auditable trail including service reports and certificates, work plans and recommendations so that in the event of a regulator or external verifier visiting site, everything is in order.
• Risk management – when it comes to compliance, the regulator requires there to be reasonable and practicable risk management and mitigation processes in place. Unfortunately, veining ignorance or declaring that the business cannot afford to make improvements or repairs simply won’t wash with the regulator. Doing nothing is not acceptable and businesses should be able to demonstrate how they are managing and mitigating risk.
It’s important to note that risk management doesn’t have to cost a fortune and there are some low cost control measures including better planning, increased vigilance and monitoring as well as forward thinking that can make a huge difference.
• Contractor control – working with external contractors on site is often a contentious but is largely unpreventable for businesses, particularly as many are reliant on contractors to bring in skills they don’t currently have in-house.
When undertaking an outsourcing arrangement, make sure that you are able to demonstrate a level of due diligence before the appointment; particularly in terms of competence and knowledge levels, training and ability as well as H&S procedures. These factors should all form part of your consideration, not just competiveness. Even more so however, businesses should look for a contractor with the right attitude and one with existing policies already in place including CSR, sustainability and recycling as well as their own carbon footprint.
Needless to say, when it comes to compliance it’s important to get it right and to employ contractors and other external bodies based upon proven statistics and data. Just as regulators won’t rely on your word, as testament of your compliance, nor should you rely on the words of contractors or other third party providers without certifiable proof. The issue of compliance is an important one and non-compliance should not be underestimated.
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