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8 Easy Ways to Keep Up with Regulatory Changes

Environmental and safety regulations change often — sometimes seemingly overnight!

If you’re not paying close attention, it’s easy to miss important changes that affect your company.

So what’s the best way to keep up with regulatory changes? Below, we’ve put together a list of eight of the easiest ways to stay on top of emerging rules in your industry.

How to stay on top of regulatory changes

  1. Monitor regulatory agency websites
  2. Follow regulatory agencies on social media
  3. Subscribe to blogs & newsletters
  4. Build relationships with regulators
  5. Join industry associations
  6. Attend conferences
  7. Talk to your peers
  8. Implement compliance software

1. Monitor regulatory agency websites

The most obvious way to stay on top of regulatory changes is to go straight to the source. Agencies like OSHA and the EPA post policy changes directly to their website. By regularly checking each agency’s website, you can see if there are any changes you should be aware of.

However, manually checking each agency's website isn't exactly efficient — and there's no way to know if something comes up in between. That’s where an RSS feed reader comes in.

A feed reader automatically scans and curates updates from different websites, blogs, or news outlets in one convenient place. That way, you don't have to keep checking back to each individual site to see if it's been updated. You just add the site to your feed reader and then read updates as they're delivered to you. Popular feed reader tools include Feedly, Newsblur, and Feeder, to name a few.

2. Follow regulatory agencies on social media

In addition to their own websites, most regulatory agencies also maintain accounts on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They use these accounts to share information about their activities and policy updates. If you already use social media regularly, following these accounts is an easy way to stay on top of regulatory changes.

Here are some accounts you might want to follow:

3. Subscribe to blogs & newsletters

By subscribing to industry blogs and newsletters, you can have regulatory updates delivered directly to your inbox. Some regulatory agencies publish their own newsletters, such as OSHA Quicktakes. There are also many EHS blogs that publish regulatory news and updates. For example, you can subscribe to our blog for industry news, regulatory changes, tips, and resources just for EHS professionals. Here are some other great EHS blogs to check out.

4. Build relationships with regulators

 
Another way to stay informed about regulatory changes is to build an effective relationship with your local, state, and federal regulators. They're the first to know when a new rule is proposed (or likely to be proposed), so if you're communicating with your regulator on a routine basis, there's a better chance you'll hear about these changes in advance.
 
Plus, regulators sometimes solicit input and information from affected entities when drafting a new rule. Having a good relationship with your regulators puts you in a position to provide feedback on how new rules are created. Once drafted, regulators may also seek comments on the proposed rule. Participating in the rulemaking process helps regulators improve their rules, and ensures that your voice is heard.

5. Join industry associations

Joining a professional association is a great way to stay current in your field. These associations typically host seminars, course, and educational events to help you keep up with the latest developments. In addition, many associations publish journals or newsletters that brief you on important industry trends and legislative changes. Here’s a list of the best EHS associations and professional organizations to join.

6. Attend conferences

Conferences aren’t just great for networking — they’re also a perfect way to stay current on new regulations. You’ll have the opportunity to attend sessions where you can learn about compliance best practices, and hear from others in your industry on how they’re navigating new requirements.

Sometimes, conferences will even feature presentations from the regulatory agencies themselves. The benefit here is that you’re able to get information “straight from the horse’s mouth”. You might even get to ask some questions and make a valuable connection.

To help you plan your calendar, we’ve put together a list of 50+ EHS conferences to attend.

7. Talk to your peers

 
Keeping in touch with other professionals in your industry isn't just a great way to build your network. It can also help you stay ahead of regulatory changes. One of your peers might attend a conference and hear about a new regulation that you might otherwise have missed. Or, they might share an article about a proposed rule on their social media accounts. By staying in touch, you'll benefit from their knowledge of upcoming regulations -- and vice versa.

8. Implement compliance software

 
Another way to stay on top of regulatory changes is to use compliance management software. Compliance software helps you keep track of all your regulatory requirements. It helps you maintain all the data and documentation necessary to demonstrate compliance, as well as standardize how your organization collects and manages this data. Compliance software can track upcoming tasks and regulatory deadlines, with alerts so you never miss an important date. It can even automatically trigger tasks based on conditions you define.
 
All of this comes in handy when new regulations arise. Because all your data is stored in a single place, you'll have instant access to the information you need to demonstrate compliance with new regulations or to adapt your current compliance processes and practices. Not only that, but you can easily track new tasks in your compliance calendar, make formula changes with time/date stamp and assign them to any location, and create customized reports for new regulations.

We hope this list has given you some valuable ideas on how to keep up with regulatory changes. What ideas would you add to the list?

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