Identifying and complying with environmental, health & safety, data security and import/export legal requirements is an important provision of the R2 standard.
An essential first step in conforming to this provision is to develop a written compliance plan (R2:2013 Guidance, section 3.2), which clearly states:
- How you will identify, have access to, and stay current with applicable legal requirements, and
- How you will comply and maintain compliance?.
Your written compliance plan should also cover the following topics:
Legal requirements for your facility may be required by international, national, regional and local regulations. You must identify and document all environmental, health & safety, and legal requirements at all levels that are applicable to your facility and business. Typically this includes an evaluation of Storm Water Regulations, Recycling regulations, Occupational Safety regulations, Data Privacy laws, etc.
Once legal requirements have been identified for your facility, develop a method of maintaining compliance. Consider what is needed to monitor compliance, complete reporting, training, and other specific requirements found in each regulation. It is always a good idea to identify who is responsible for each task. A combination of tools like monthly checklists, an EH&S compliance calendar and/or email reminders are typical for monitoring compliance.
Part of the Legal Requirements Plan (R2:2013 Guidance, section 3.4) should identify the method for ensuring that equipment and components containing focus materials are only shipped to and through countries that legally accept them, and that the shipments are in compliance with the recycler’s exporting country. This includes ALL countries, not just non-OECD countries.
The R2 Guidance document includes a thorough discussion of required documentation demonstrating the legality of shipments (R2:2013 Guidance, section 3.3).
Keep in mind, that untested or non-functioning equipment or components containing FMs that are being sent for repair or refurbishment, still fall under this requirement. Additionally, the R2 certified recycler is responsible for maintaining evidence of the legality for imports/exports of downstream vendors too. Even if you don’t import or export directly, you must be able to prove that it is legally done by any downstream vendor in your recycling chain.
Audit Compliance with Legal Requirements
The final step of the compliance plan is to audit your compliance with the identified legal requirements above. The R2 standard requires “periodic” audits. By definition an audit is formal and methodical. Audits are not casual evaluations of compliance. Additionally, the term periodic starts with annual compliance audits as a baseline. Once you have a good track record of compliance, you can increase the time between legal compliance audits.
A legal compliance audit includes a review of your list of legal requirements, as well as a facility-wide evaluation of actual compliance. The audit could include observation of compliance, (ex. forklift driver wearing seatbelt), inspection of records (ex. daily forklift inspection record), inspection of training records, required postings and regulatory reporting. Any non-compliant activities found during the compliance audit should be addressed in your corrective action process.
The person conducting the audit must be competent to do so. You will be required to demonstrate the qualifications of the person who performed the compliance audit. Competence may be established through training and/or experience. Outside parties may be used/needed if there are no in-house personnel qualified.