How to Create an ISO 14001 Internal Audit Checklist?

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.

ISO 14001 Audit ChecklistWhile 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.


What Should Organization Do for Successful ISO 14001 System Implementation?

ISO 14001 is the standard used as a framework for configuration and maintenance of an environmental management system that meets specific requirements. ISO 14001 Certification is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Proof of the organisation’s compliance with the requirements of ISO 14001.
  • Shows clients and business partners that the organisation is committed to responsible environmental practices.
  • Shows commitment to reduce environmental impact and to ensure sustainability of practices.
  • It provides the organization with a competitive advantage over companies that do not have ISO 14001 certification.

Compliance with the standard has many key benefits. It helps the organization to use resources efficiently and reduce the impact on the environment by reducing waste and responsible use of resources. Improving environmental performance leads to a higher level of public trust. An environmental management system that compliance with the requirements of ISO 14001 makes it possible for the organisation to identify, monitor, control, and manage issues related to the environment in a sustainable way.

More emphasis is placed on the involvement of top management, proper leadership, and inclusion of environmental management policies in the organisation’s strategic focus. Compliant companies commit to ongoing improvement of their environmental management including, for instance, the implementation of recycling processes. Compliant enterprises benefit from improved financial performance, reduced costs, increase in employee motivation, better standing in their communities, and reduced impact on the environment.

A systematic approach is followed regarding environmental performance. This ensures a well-documented audit trail regarding the organisation’s processes. The Plan-Do-Check-Act approach is followed, which ensures continues environmental performance improvements.

The objectives, targets, and plans must be well documented and responsibilities must be clearly assigned. ISO 14001 awareness training, in addition to training in the relevant legislation, setting up of the ISO 14001 environmental management system, internal audit training, and risk management relevant to the environment should be priorities.

Measurement must be done against the environmental impacts that the organisation identified. Performance must be well documented. There must be procedures in place for evaluation and correction of non-conformities. The records must be stored correctly, and be retrievable and be accessible. Regular ISO 14001 internal audits are necessary to help keep the organisation on track, even after certification has been done. Implementation of such an environmental management system can only be successful if the top management stays committed to the process, if the implementation and requirements are communicated, if employees are trained adequately, and if proper record-keeping practices stay in place.


Key Points to Take Care While Developing an Environment Management System

The Environment Management System (EMS) refers to a system used by an Organisation to manage its activities, product or services in such a way to minimize or eliminate the adverse impacts on environment. More explicitly, the EMS is that part of the overall management system viz. organizational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources which are necessary for developing, implementing, reviewing and maintaining the organisation’s environmental policy.

The Environmental Management System is a manual system consisting of three components namely:

I. Design or development of elements of EMS
II. Documentation and
III. Implementation

The organisation with any type and size may develop its own Environmental Management System to address environmental issues arising out of its activities, products and services. The environments elements of such an organization system may be decided by the organisation itself depending upon the requirements. The main purpose of the organizations’ environment management system has to be designed and developed is that the system may be functioning well to enhance the environmental performance. The ISO 14001:2015 certification of EMS as per specification recognized standards has been introduced.

The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) has developed comprehensive ISO 14000 series of standards for Environmental Management system. Identical to this ISO 14001 standard, British standards (BS EN ISO 14001: 1996) are also developed. An organisation can develop EMS as per these specifications and guidelines.

There are some primary requirements while developing effective Environmental Management System, which are as per bellow:

  • Must be based on control of causes, not impact reactive
  • Must address all management elements of control
  • Must address Normal / Abnormal / Emergency conditions
  • Must have measurable parameters
  • Must be goal driven
  • Must be relevant to aspects
  • Must involve all
  • Must promote continual improvement
  • Management and not control / eradication
  • EMS is managing risks (aspects)
  • The essence of aspect management is to avoid high aspects, manage medium aspects and live with low aspects.

What are The Steps for ISO 14001:2015 Certification?

ISO 14001 focuses on the implementation and maintenance of an environmental management system. Implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) can help you manage environmental risks, provide assurances in legal compliance and demonstrate your environmental credentials to your stakeholders. Below are the basic steps needed for ISO 14001:2015 Certification Process.

Steps for ISO 14001:2015 Certification1. Learn about the ISO 14001:2015 Standard
You will need to understand ISO 14001 (and ISO 9001 if you are combining), to help you understand what you need to do in your company to meet the requirements of the standard.

2. Perform an ISO 14001 Initial Environmental Review & Gap Analysis
A useful step could be to undertake a gap analysis between the management system processes you currently have in place and the requirements of ISO 14001. Use the Gap Analysis Checklist to determine where you need to change your existing EMS.

3. Plan your ISO 14000 project
Create a Project Plan to determine your tasks, timeline and resources. Consider a Step-by-Step Workbook to guide you.

4. Train your organization on ISO 14001:2015
Employees and management must receive ISO 14001 awareness training in what ISO 14001 entails, what the legislative requirements are for environmental management. Awareness programmes must be developed and implemented to ensure that every employee knows their role and how to respond to emergencies, what must be done, and what may not be done.

5. Document your ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System
Design ISO 14001:2015 documents such as Environmental Manual and Procedures. Most of the portion of the project is see your current processes, and redesign them to meet all of the requirements of the standard. Once you have modified or developed processes to meet the standard, you will need to control those processes. Documenting the processes as EMS System procedures is part of this control.

6. Implement your EMS and conduct business
Once your system is developed and documented, employees will follow the procedures, collect records and make improvements to the system. For about three or more months, your organization will run the EMS, collect the records.

7. Audit your EMS
Awareness programmes must be developed and implemented to ensure that every employee knows their role and how to respond to emergencies, what must be done, and what may not be done. Perform internal audits to see how your system works and improve it. This prepares you for an Audit by a Registrar.

8. Go for Certification
If you are conducting effective internal audits, they will give you a clear indication as to whether your business is ready for certification. Be aware that most certification bodies work on fairly long lead times and that a first time certification is a two-staged process; so forward planning and early dialogue is key.

Take a look on how to use ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System Manual

ISO 14001 is the Environmental Management System standard. This manual has been developed and organized to help all organizations interested in the development of an Environmental Management System (EMS) which is compatible with ISO 14001. It is designed to provide guidance on the intent of ISO 14001 EMS. EMS internal program developers should use this manual.

The purpose of ISO 14001 manual is to define and describe the environmental management system, to define authorities and responsibilities of the management personnel involved in the operation of the system, and to provide general procedures for all activities comprising the environmental management system

Look after following points before using ISO 14001 – Manual

The process begins with an Initial review not required by the standard, but essential for program development and then embraces Policy, Aspects, Objectives and Targets, etc in the order they appear in ISO 14001. Each section has the same format:

  • Definition: This section describes what the sub clause of ISO really means.
  • Purpose: This section describes what the sub clause of ISO hopes to achieve in the Program.
  • Procedure: This section describes how you should build your program to comply with the sub clause, what things you should consider, and how you will integrate the procedures into what you already do.
  • Tips: Tips are just that tips on things you should think about in reference to this section and reminders about what types of line items need to be included in the procedure and documentation.

This manual was written by experienced developers ISO 14001 programs. Take the time to read an entire section and then think before you write. It is recommended that you read an article about a day and spend some time thinking before writing the next. For some sections, such as operational control, it may take several days to produce documents and implement the practices. You can consult the manual section on the operational control every few days during this phase to remind you of what you are trying to accomplish.

Key Aspect of ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

Organizations of all kinds are increasingly concerned with achieving and demonstrating sound environmental performance by controlling the impact of their activities, products, or services on the environment, taking into account their environmental policy and objectives. They do so in the context of increasingly stringent legislation, the development of economic policies and other measures to foster environmental protection, and a general growth of concern from interested parties about environmental matters including sustainable development. It was based upon the ISO 9000 family of specifications, so if you are family with the terms and structure of ISO9001, you will readily grasp ISO14001.

The Key Aspects of ISO14001:-

  • Flexible and non prescriptive,
  • Can use existing environmental programs and systems,
  • Pushes continual improvement,
  • Encourages cost saving by integrating environmental requirements into the overall company systems and
  • Can provide a substantial market advantage.

The Environmental Management System (EMS) document is the central document that describes the interaction of the core elements of the system, and provides a third-party auditor with the key information necessary to understand the environmental management systems in-place at the company. Consistent with the principles of ISO14001, the Environmental Policy and Environmental Aspects or impacts analysis, including legal & other requirements, shape the program by influencing the selection of specific measurable environmental goals, objectives, & targets. Specific programs and or projects must then be developed to achieve these environmental goals, objectives, & targets. The checking & corrective action elements of the system help ensure continuous improvement by addressing root causes on non-conformances. The ongoing management review of the EMS and its elements helps to ensure continuing suitability, adequacy, & effectiveness of the program.

Advantages of ISO 14001 Environment Management System:-

Implementation of proper Environmental Management System as per requirement of ISO 14001:2004 standard includes documentation of all procedures and processes, including operational and documentation control, the establishment of emergency procedures and responses, and the communication with employees, to ensure they can competently implement the necessary processes and record results. ISO 14001 Environmental Management can be a very effective ISO 14001 Certification   tool to identify these cost savings opportunities for some organizations. Some other organizations can falter in its planning, lack of senior management commitment and poor understanding of how it should be implemented and find themselves managing an ineffective ISO 14001 EMS Certification. Among the key benefits of the ISO 14001 EMS Certification standard some of as follows:

  • Minimizing the risk of regulatory and environmental liability fines.
  • Improving an organization’s efficiency Increases customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Reduction of waste and consumption of resources.
  • Reduce operating costs.
  • Increase long term viability of businesses.
  • Identification of possible areas which can save costs such as recycling, landfill costs, utilities.
  • Positive response from investors, lenders & insurers.
  • Provides competitive advantage against companies that do not adopt the standard.

Regulations of Environmental Management System – ISO 14001

The International Standards Organization release ISO 14001, a proposed, voluntary environmental management system. ISO 14001 applies to organizations with an environmental policy already in situ and supported by management. Predicated on a preliminary audit of environmental systems in situ and a review of current results, EMS 14001 seeks to clarify the relation between the organization and public policy, and establishes procedures, work directions and controls to confirm that implementation of the policy and accomplishment of the target will become a reality.

EMS 14001 Compliant Policies

An organization moves toward compliant environmental management system with a press release of policy. The organization, usually a community, adopts a policy that commits the organization to institute and perform procedures and practices that move the organization unendingly toward EMS 14001 compliant environmental management to forestall pollution, improve environmental performance, win an institutional understanding of relevant environmental statutes and laws, and superintend the accomplishment of those policies and goals.

EMS 14001 Achievement Objectives

The EMS 14001 requirements the organization to spot all elements, whether or not presently regulated or not, of the organization’s activities, product and services that may impact the atmosphere. It needs the organization to line performance objectives and targets for the organization’s environmental management system. These ought to articulate policy objectives: “prevention of pollution, continual improvement and compliance. On a sensible level, EMS 14001 compliance includes achieving an environmentally aware structure population, coaching workers in environmental practices, policies and numerous suggests that of accomplishment of feat and establishing specific metrics to live the achievement of objectives and targets.

Analyzing Achievement

EMS 14001 establishes numerous suggests that of assessing performance of policy objectives. It establishes a periodic audit programme that reviews the organization’s EMS operations. It establishes a policy of preventive and remedial actions in response to compliance failures, and establishes suggests that of sporadically reviewing the organization’s compliance with environmental laws. It additionally establishes periodic reviews of the performance of high-ranking and top-ranking management with regard to the policy goals of EMS 14001, and proposes suggests that of rising performance once required.

Benefits of ISO 14001 Compliant EMS

However voluntary EMS compliance improves an organization’s environmental performance and ensures that it understands and may win compliance with relevant environmental laws. It provides a framework for pollution hindrance, and promotes consistent accomplishment. It attracts attention to scarce resources and encourages property management. It promotes public awareness and approval of systems that manage the atmosphere.