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  • Roeleen Henning

Operational Compliance

Last week we looked at an introduction in compliance and what is the way forward especially in the COVID-19 environment we found ourselves in.


I am fascinated with how organizations see compliance. When the word compliance is used most people associate it with money and financial management. This is important and certainly a must for any business to ensure financial compliance, but compliance does not stop with your financial system, it is actually just one aspect of a businesses overall compliance management system. To differentiate, I use the words operational compliance and financial compliance. My focus is on operational compliance and I leave the financial compliance to the experts in the financial field. Legal compliance would form part of both operational and financial compliance; therefore, it is critical to ensure compliance in both disciplines.


Define operational compliance

  1. It is compliance to any legislation which a business needs to implement to ensure its operations and processes are in line with the specific legislation e.g. Occupational Health and Safety Act, Health Act, Disaster Management Act, Environmental Legislation, Employment Equity Act, Transport Act, Dangerous Goods, By-Laws to name a few – the legislation is a framework on how you shall do business in South Africa based on your operational processes and services.

  2. It is compliance with regulations linked to the legislation you need to comply with at operational level.

  3. It is compliance to any SANS code linked to any of the legislation which you need to comply with and implement at operational level.

Why do I need to ensure operational compliance?

  1. All JSE Listed organizations shall provide an annual report and operation compliance is part of this report as it shows leadership, responsibility, and accountability of the organisation’s commitment to people and the environment.

  2. For business growth and sustainability as, operational compliance ensures processes are formulated and waste streams identified and eliminated increasing bottom line.

  3. Avoid accidents which can result in major losses, business closure, trust in brand and sustainability and will have a severe impact on bottom line.

  4. Avoid prosecution of Top Management structures which will impact brand, bottom-line and sustainability.

  5. Avoid costly penalties which impact the bottom-line.

How to implement Operational Compliance?

  1. Implement an integrated management system which looks at the compliance of different legislation, standards, and SANS codes applicable to your operations.

  2. Base the integrated system on ISO9001 even if you don’t plan to audit and integrate as many as possible ISO standards into one management system. ISO is beneficial once a business growth increases and starts to tender or deal with international organizations.

  3. Ensure the integrated management system is implemented at all levels in the organization. When everybody does a little towards compliance it makes it easier and manageable to ensure full compliance at all times.

  4. Appoint a person who can champion or drive the integrated management system.

  5. Work smart and use software to manage the integrated management system and do not rely on a person who will police the system. You want behaviours to drive the system not a police officer enforcing the system to ensure sustainability and culture change.

How does an Integrated Management System function?


Example of Operational Compliance & how the Integrated Management System works

  1. Risk assessments identify the activities & associated risks – e.g. working with lifting equipment – risk of falling objects causing injuries.

  2. Controls identify what legislation, SANS codes, and best practices are used to maintain and operate lifting equipment – e.g. annual load test, design of equipment, training of operator, medical fitness.

  3. Policies – e.g. states what the business will do to ensure safety of the employees and the environment.

  4. Procedures and WI – e.g. explains how often by whom the inspections will be done. Daily checks of equipment are done by operator based on WI & training. Procedures for medical fitness is used to manage HR concerns.

The integrated management system can be managed by Elint Smart Software at different levels in the organization with different intervals compliant to numerous legislation, SANS codes, ISO and other standards.


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