Regulatory Compliance, a Differentiator?—Part 1

Many view regulatory compliance as a necessary evil. Compliance is not optional so how can you turn this bowl of lemons into lemonade? Part 1 of this article makes the case for using regulatory compliance as a differentiator in the marketplace.

Ask a printer if they are compliant with all federal, state, and local regulations and chances are they will say yes without hesitation. Ask them to prove it and they may not be so quick to respond. A quick self-test to gauge your company’s degree of compliance is to ask your plant manager to show you your written hazard communications program. They should be able to produce it without hesitation and it should contain an update documenting the Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) training that was delivered to employees along with the relevant training material. If your plant manager can’t produce the document or show you the GHS update, no need to panic, information is available from PGAMA to help you comply with the new GHS requirements.

“But,” you say, “nobody told me!” and, in fact, nobody will. It is the responsibility of the owner to keep up with compliance and regulatory requirements. Fortunately, PGAMA is always on the lookout for regulatory changes that affect the industry and constantly communicates with members through electronic and printed publications to keep them informed.

So what do you have to be compliant with? In addition to regulations imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) other government agencies that can have an impact on your business include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). See http://www.printing.org/ehs for more details.

Understanding the legal compliance obligations is only the first step. Compliance is not one and done. Programs need to put in place to achieve and maintain continuous compliance. Once programs are in place, how can you use your company’s compliance to gain an advantage? When the “green” movement became popular a few years back companies created marketing material that touted recycling rates and carbon neutrality among other things. Those that were first to market had a new way to differentiate themselves, for a time. Why not leverage your compliance in the same way? Arm your sales people with information that explains your commitment to regulatory compliance and how you can play “nice” in their supply chain instead of being a potential liability.

Up next: Part 2—Setting Yourself Apart with Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) Certification

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