Be the "go to" person to keep all in compliance

Who do company leaders expect to keep...

Who do company leaders expect to keep them in the loop about changes in regulations that impact your workplace? You—the occupational health professional.

This means you need to stay abreast of changes in requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Environmental Protection Division, the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture, among others.

Here are ways to make yourself the "go-to" person for compliance:

1. Provide a monthly or quarterly update on items which affect your specific industry.

"Compare your company's compliance record with the industry standards," says Diane DeGaetano, RN, BSN, COHN-S, COHC, president of the Atlanta, GA chapter of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN). For example, for fleet safety, they may want to know what the industry standards are for accident rates per million miles driven, compared with your own workplace. Also offer comparison figures, such as stating that, 'For the Pharmaceutical Industry, the accidents per million miles in 2008 was 12.7."

2. Offer best practice ideas that go beyond compliance.

"These ideas require research and creativity," says DeGaetano. She recommends networking with experts in the fields related to occupational health and safety, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, AAOHN, the National Safety Council, the American Society for Safety Engineers (ASSE), and the National Institutes of Health.

3. Rely on professional organizations to keep you informed.

Being a member of ASSE or the American Association of Occupational & Environmental Health Nurses is one way to keep up with the updates from OSHA and EPA, for example.

"Both organizations have partnership with most federal organizations," says DeGaetano. "The information in provided in a variety of formats including webinars, teleconferences, regional professional development meetings and national conferences."

SOURCES

For more information about the occupational health role in compliance, contact:

• Diane DeGaetano, RN, BSN, COHN-S, COHC, Occupational Health Manager, Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. Phone: (678) 772-7734. E-mail: diane.degaetano@merial.com.