ISO 14001:2004

ISO 14001:2004 is the current version of the ISO Environmental Management System standard.

Key Elements of ISO 14001:2004

The ISO 14001 standard is based on the same plan-do-check-act (PDCA) structure as ISO 19001. The main elements of the standard are:

  1. Environmental Policy
  2. Planning
  3. Implementation & Operation
  4. Checking and Corrective Action
  5. Management Review

1. Establishing an Environmental Policy (Section 4.2)

Paragraph 4.2 requires top management of the company to define an environmental policy that is consistent with the scope of the EMS and appropriate to the organization. This environmental policy must include a commitment to continual improvement, prevention of pollution and compliance with legal requirements. The policy must provide a framework for setting and reviewing environmental objectives and targets. The environmental policy must be documented, communicated to all persons working for or on behalf of the organization and made available to the public.

2. Environmental Planning (Section 4.3)

Paragraph 4.3.1 requires that the company establish and maintain procedures to identify environmental aspects and determine those which may have significant environmental impacts. Environmental aspects are activities, products or services of the company which can interact with the environment (e.g. potential for accidental spillage, air exhaust emissions). Environmental impacts are environmental changes resulting from an organization’s aspects (e.g. contamination of soil or water from an accidental spill, air pollution). These aspects must be addressed within the EMS.

Paragraph 4.3.2 requires that the company establish and maintain a procedure to identify and provide access to the legal and other environmental requirements applicable to the company’s activities, products and services. The identified legal requirements must be addressed as an integral part of the EMS.

Paragraph 4.3.3 requires that the company establish and maintain documented environmental objectives and targets. These need to be specific, measurable and consistent with the company’s environmental policy. Environmental management programs must be established to accomplish these objectives and targets and include designation of responsibilities, means and time-frames for completion.

3. Implementation and Operation (Section 4.4)

Paragraph 4.4.1 requires that roles, responsibilities and authorities for environmental management system be defined. Top management of the company must appoint a specific environmental management representative who will report on the performance of the environmental management system and make recommendations for improvements. Management is also required to ensure the availability of the resources essential to the implementation, maintenance and improvement of the environmental management system.

Paragraph 4.4.2 requires that the company identify competency requirements and training needs and institute a program to make those working for the company aware of the environmental policy, environmental aspects and impacts, and employee’s individual roles and responsibilities for the EMS. Training records must be maintained.

Paragraph 4.4.3 requires that the company establish and maintain procedures for both internal and external communication regarding environmental issues.

Paragraph 4.4.4 requires that the company describe the main elements of its environmental management system and provide direction to related documentation. Documentation to ensure the effective planning, operation and control of processes related to significant environmental aspects is also required.

Paragraph 4.4.5 requires that the company establish and maintain procedures to control the creation, review, approval, modification, storage, availability and destruction of its EMS documentation – including documents of external origin.

Paragraph 4.4.6 requires that the company identify its operations and activities with significant environmental aspects. The company is required to establish and maintain documented procedures outlining how these activities will be conducted and stipulating operating criteria (control limits). Procedures must be established to communicate applicable requirements to suppliers and contractors.

Paragraph 4.4.7 requires that the company establish and maintain emergency preparedness and response procedures. These procedures are to be reviewed and revised when necessary and periodically tested where practicable.

4. Monitoring and Corrective Action (Section 4.5)

Paragraph 4.5.1 requires that the company establish procedures for monitoring and measuring the key characteristics of its operations and activities which may impact the environment. Records are to be kept which track the company’s performance in relation to its environmental objectives and targets. Any environmental monitoring equipment must be calibrated and maintained in accordance with established procedures. Calibration records must be retained.

Paragraph 4.5.2 requires that the company establish and maintain a procedure for periodically evaluating compliance with environmental laws and other legal requirements. Records must be kept of this compliance evaluation.

Paragraph 4.5.3 requires that the company establish and maintain procedures for taking corrective and preventative action to deal with identified nonconformities.

Paragraph 4.5.4 requires that the company establish and maintain procedures for the identification, storage, protection, retrieval, retention and disposal of environmental records. Environmental records must be maintained to demonstrate conformity with the EMS.

Paragraph 4.5.5 requires that the company establish and maintain an internal EMS audit program to determine whether the company’s environmental management system conforms to ISO 14001.

5. Management Review (Section 4.6)

Paragraph 4.6 requires top management of the company to review the environmental management system to ensure its continued suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. This management review must be documented and must address the need for changes to the EMS and assess opportunities for improvement.

Page last updated 07/23/2015


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