If you are planning your ISO 14001 internal audit for your Environment Management System, you may be looking for some kind of an ISO 14001 audit checklist. Every company is different. However, you can create your own basic ISO 14001 internal audit checklist, customised to your organisation, without too much trouble.
While the ISO 14001:2015 standard does not include requirements that indicate that you need to use an ISO 14001 audit checklist, it is a useful and effective way to document the questions you need to ask to ensure that your process outputs meet the planned arrangements for your process.
First of all, it is impossible to have an effective checklist without aligning it to the requirements of the standard; therefore, you will need to consider the requirements of the standard, including the following:
Document review: Read your Environment Management System. You will need to understand processes in the EMS, and find out if there is non-conformity in the documentation with regard to ISO 14001.
Creating the checklist: Make a checklist based on the document review, i.e., read about the specific requirements of the policies, procedures and plans written in the documentation and write them down so that you can check them during the main audit.
Planning the main audit: It is wise to plan your internal audit, as you will need to visit many people and departments – your checklist will give you an idea on the main focus required.
Performing the main audit: This is the physical act of performing the audit, where the auditor moves amongst the employees and processes and checks the critical elements of the standards to determine whether your defined processes are being correctly adhered to. A previously-prepared ISO 14001 audit checklist now proves it’s worth – if this is vague, shallow, and incomplete, it is probable that you will forget to check many key things. And you will need to take detailed notes.
Reporting: Summarize all the non-conformities and write the internal audit report. With the checklist and the detailed notes, a precise report should not be too difficult to write. From this, corrective actions should be easy to record according to the documented corrective action procedure.
Follow-up: It’s the internal auditor’s job to check whether all the corrective actions identified during the internal audit are addressed. The checklist and notes are once again crucial as to the reasons why nonconformity was raised. The internal auditor’s job is only finished when these are rectified and closed, and the ISO 14001 audit checklist is simply a tool to serve this end, not an end in itself.