Human Resources Compliance: Team Member Roles and Responsibilities

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No matter what the size of an organization, some degree of labor law compliance is required.  The larger the company, the more complex the requirements, and the more complex requirements are, the more the company needs to have internal processes and accountability in place to ensure that compliance issues are managed appropriately.

In a small organization, typically a Human Resources (HR) person will wear many hats, including managing most, if not all, areas of compliance.  Larger or more companies, however, have numerous roles and responsibilities worn by different people in the organization.  As an example, here are some typical labor law compliance roles that must be addressed within an organization.  One person may assume numerous responsibilities, but all of these issues are important in the overall compliance picture.

HR officer – Typically the HR function owns the general labor law compliance function within a company.  As such, the HR person is responsible for ensuring that individuals or teams are in place to address compliance issues.  He or she is responsible for understanding the compliance laws as well as overall communication and training to managers and employees.  This individual is responsible for answering employee questions, conducting investigations of incidents, and filing and reporting issues to proper authorities.  He or she will have internal processes and metrics in place that are carefully adhered to and maintained for reporting purposes.  Again, in larger companies these responsibilities are most likely delegated to non-HR individuals who are involved in the core activities of the company, however, HR always maintains a degree of oversight concerning labor law compliance.

 Safety officer/team – Particularly in manufacturing environments, there will be a safety officer and team that is responsible for ensuring, not only OSHA compliance within the facility, but also responsible for understanding compliance requirements, monitoring of the environment to ensure that it is compliant, look for ways to ensure safety and ensure that all of the appropriate individuals receive training and communications in order to safely and effectively do their jobs and comply with all standards and laws.

 First responders – These are individuals who, when an emergency occurs within the facility, are called typically along with any 911 or external emergency support.  First responders are individuals trained to make an initial assessment when an employee is injured or ill on the job and can secure an environment, care for injured workers until appropriate medical or other emergency get there and protect all other workers in the meantime.  These are also individuals who are called in the case of spills or other issues which require care in clean up to ensure that all OSHA laws are adhered to.  Many times first responders are also members of the safety team to ensure overall compliance in emergency situations.

 Administrative processes – Typically an administrative support person will work with the HR or safety team to ensure compliance with some of the following areas:

  • Ensures that labor law compliance posters are available and displayed in appropriate areas.
  • Ensures that fire extinguishers are checked and maintained as well as defibrillators and other equipment.
  • Maintains reporting records and ensures that appropriate forms are distributed to collect information when accidents and violations occur.

All of these roles are important to any organization and are part of the overall labor compliance within the organization.  The larger the organization, the greater the need to have individuals who are highly specialized in specific areas leading these overall responsibilities.

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