How to Fit a Library in the Palm of Your Hand: ehsAI Gives you Control over CFR

books on a bookshelf

ehsAI is using its revolutionary approach to artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to tame the complexity of the United States Code of Federal Regulations.

The United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) contains all the regulations published by the agencies and departments of the United States federal government. It consists of over 250,000 pages contained in 50 titles that address everything from energy to transportation to commerce. To give some perspective of the extent of the information contained in CFR, the print volumes in the Library of Congress require ten shelves and occupy 304.5 inches of space. (Hayes, 2008)

Compliance with the regulations contained in the CFR is an obligation to which every organization in the United States is subject. While organizations don’t have to monitor the entire CFR for regulations that don’t apply to them, it requires considerable resources and effort to understand the requirements and monitor them for annual changes. Further, while each regulation might change very little from year to year, the implications of failing to track those changes can be significant. In the last five years, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resolved more than 70 cases involving violations of 40 CFR 1068.101(b) and the Clean Air Act relating to tampering with automobile emission controls. The maximum penalty for these violations is $4,819 per violation, with the possibility of significantly higher civil penalties. In addition to fines, organizations that violate regulations can find themselves subject to considerable reputational damage.

While some regulations change very little over time, others can change drastically very quickly. The Biden administration began addressing regulatory changes almost immediately after taking office in January 2021. President Biden issued the Executive Order on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation on January 20, which rescinded a number of Trump-era executive orders. President Biden also moved quickly to initiate regulations relating to COVID-19, while signaling future changes to regulations relating to nuclear energy and climate change. Organizations subject to these regulatory changes will have to monitor them closely to ensure they maintain compliance with them.

Most organizations use third-party subscription services like Enhesa or RegScan to access electronic versions of full-text regulations. These services are useful for getting a basic understanding of your compliance obligations, but they are also expensive, and obtaining a deeper understanding of the complexity of your obligations requires additional subscription services.

To keep on top of these important obligations, ehsAI is providing free access to authorized XML versions of the electronic text of CFR (eCFR) through the ehsAI application. This machine-readable format provides access to all 250,000 pages of the eCFR, which ehsAI can deconstruct into compliance-requirement checklists in Excel. This just-in-time process allows users to streamline the entire process of uncovering their compliance obligations in the overwhelming number of regulations. ehsAI monitors the deconstructed sections over time to look for significant changes that could impact regulatory compliance, which eliminates the requirement to perform a manual comparison of the regulations each year to look for changes. Access to eCFR in XML is available in the newest ehsAI release, V2.3, for current users.

ehsAI is revolutionizing the way organizations meet regulatory requirements for environment, health and safety and quality. By automating the analysis of regulatory documents, ehsAI is increasing efficiency, accuracy, consistency and compliance oversight. To learn more about ehsAI and the way it makes compliance with eCFR easier, contact us today.

References

Coleman, Lisa Whitley. (March 2, 2021). EPA Issues Enforcement Alert on Emissions Tampering. EHS Daily Advisor. https://ehsdailyadvisor.blr.com/2021/03/epa-issues-enforcement-alert-on-emissions-tampering/. Accessed 2021.05.26.

Hayes, David P. (2008). Are Federal Regulations Too Numerous? Has the Number of Them Multiplied Excessively? https://extent-of-regulation.dhwritings.com/. Accessed 2021.05.26.