Internal audits ensure that businesses are meeting their compliance obligations and are maintaining a level of adequacy required by the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Not only will this performance evaluation offer a current evaluation of compliance, but will also support development improvements and preventative measures. Certainty Software’s 89-question ISO 14001 EMS Audit Checklist streamlines a company’s EMS internal audit program and assess’s general readiness for an external ISO 14001 audit.
Aspects of the internal audit checklist include:
- Environmental policy
- Environmental aspects
- Legal requirements
- Objectives and targets
- Emergency preparedness and response
- Monitoring and measuring
- Corrective action
- Preventative action
What is an Environmental Management System (EMS)?
Incorporating an environmental management system (EMS) develops a set of standardized practices and processes that reduces its environmental impact while also increasing a business’s operational efficiency. Companies that utilize EMS increase the likelihood of reaching their environmental performance objectives through consistent review, internal audits, and continual improvements to meet their environmental objectives.
What is ISO 14001?
Obtaining ISO 14001 (International Organization for Standardization) certification offers an assistive tool for businesses to design and build a standardized Environmental Management System (EMS). The ISO standards ensure a business’s scope of the environmental management system meets the ISO internationally recognized regulatory requirements.
Benefits of ISO 14001
Certification from an internationally recognized organization like ISO greatly reduces an organization’s environmental impacts on society and helps to meet its environmental objectives. Specific benefits of ISO for an organization’s EMS include:
Improved cost control
ISO standards for an environmental management system reduce significant environmental impacts and ultimately prevent liability costs. Additionally, based on environmental management system requirements, cost savings are sought through the conservation of materials and energy.
Improved public image
Customers can appreciate the effort put forward by an organization seeking to eliminate its adverse environmental impacts which can lead to a greater public image of a business.
Enhanced the safety culture
The standards set by ISO 14001 support a culture of continuous improvement through consistent review of business processes and reducing significant environmental aspects. From top management to floor staff, continuous evaluation and idea-generation can develop to search for ways to reach a company’s environmental objectives.
How to Become ISO 14001 Certified
Becoming ISO 14001 certified involves numerous business requirements. The requirements of ISO and its expectations of interested parties include:
- Meeting environment compliance requirements
- Showing strong internal communication
- Defining an environmental policy
- Defining operation criteria for environmental goals, targets, and objectives
- Operational planning of how to monitor progress
- EMS performance audit
ISO 14001 EMS Internal Audit General Steps
1. Schedule the Audit
While an obvious step, scheduling the audit process is a significant aspect of the beginning stage of an internal EMS audit. Typically, these audits can be conducted once a year, but of course, is dependent on the context of the organization individually and its own audit programs.
2. Perform the Audit
It’s important to recognize that the internal audit is not to recreate an external audit performed by ISO, but rather aims to verify that the ability to collect information and data regarding the environmental conditions is sufficient to develop corrective actions and preventative measures in relevant functions of a business.
3. Communicate the Results
Audit results, both positive and negative, should be communicated to top management, as well as other relevant interested parties such as floor staff involved in the job tasks. Identification of improvements, process success, process problems, and other relevant information that will support meeting a company’s environmental objectives needs to be communicated to all parties as well.
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