Practical Environmental Management Systems
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This Worksheet concentrates on operating the EMS and considers many of the areas where ISO 14001 makes specific demands.
Envirowise publications provide sample documents and forms that will assist in writing many of these procedures.
Procedures should record the way you do things as simply as possible.
This is a written programme of work stating when and how the objectives will be achieved, and who is responsible for achieving them. This helps effective EMS implementation and ensures a systematic approach to waste minimisation and optimum benefits. The Management Programme is not a detailed project plan, but should include deadlines for completing the tasks associated with the objectives and targets.
Section 4.3.4 of ISO 14001 requires a Management Programme to enable objectives and targets to be achieved.
One key to success is to set intermediate deadlines for each objective. This enables objectives to be completed in small, manageable parts and defines clearly ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘when’. Give ownership of each target to a responsible individual and set 'milestones' to allow the objectives, the targets and the Programme to be audited.
- A written programme of work outlining when and how the objectives and targets of the EMS will be achieved.
Senior management commitment and correctly delegated power and responsibility are vital for the success of the EMS.
- Ensure a senior manager has responsibility for the system at Board level.
- Formally define the roles of the EMS champion and the implementation team.
- Include key roles and responsibilities in the job descriptions of relevant employees.
Section 4.4.1 of the standard requires ensuring that roles and responsibilities with regard to environmental management are clearly defined and documented.
- An organisation chart with asterisks highlighting the members of the EMS team.
- Current job descriptions.
Training is an essential requirement for the success of an EMS. It should raise general awareness of environmental issues and also provide specific technical skills.
When developing the EMS, a training needs assessment matrix should be produced. This will include the relevant job functions and the different types of technical knowledge required to operate the EMS.
- Identify the issues and procedures where employees need training and the key roles that need training.
- Ensure that all employees (including new recruits) receive a basic training in environmental awareness, waste minimisation and the elements of the EMS.
It is important to provide proof of training and to ensure that if a key training session is missed then this is rescheduled for a later date. Many Quality Management Systems (QMS) also include procedures for recording training needs and attendance.
Section 4.4.2 of ISO 14001 requires the identification of training needs in a structured and documented method and the development of a training programme.
To maximise cost-effectiveness and minimise inconvenience, training sessions can be run between shifts to reach a larger audience.
Note: It is not sufficient to provide training just once. Refresher training and further specialist training may be necessary for the system to mature and provide good results.
- A formal, documented procedure to assess training needs.
- A written plan to deliver the training.
- Records of training materials.
- Signed training attendance forms.
Communicating the reasons for the EMS, the role of individuals and the progress being made will help to achieve ownership of the EMS by all employees and maintain the momentum for continuous improvement. Tell the outside world what is being done and what has been achieved to improve public and customer perception and show that you care for the environment.
Section 4.4.3 of ISO 14001 requires procedures for internal and external communication.
The procedure should specify the methods, e.g. newsletters and posters and, the approximate frequency of communication. Information of relevance to the EMS - current performance, successes, incidents, new legislation, site improvements, awards - should be communicated, and records kept to prove the communications took place.
The procedure is to ensure that:
- Communications to and from external interested parties are received, documented and responded to by the correct person.
- Records of the content of communications are held.
Section 4.4.3 of ISO 14001 requires consideration of external reporting of significant environmental aspects. The decision should be recorded in the Management Review minutes.
After progress with the EMS, the annual performance data could form the basis for either an internal or an external report.
- Procedures for internal and external communications.
- Records of internal communications.
- An external communications log.
The Management Manual acts as a guide to the EMS procedures and documents and describes the entire system.
The Management Manual should include:
- A brief history of the company.
- The environmental policy.
- A description of how the EMS works.
- A list of EMS procedures.
- Descriptions of key management responsibilities and an organisation chart.
Section 4.4.4 of ISO 14001 requires the maintenance of information describing the EMS.
The format of the Management Manual can follow the format of any existing quality management manual. It is possible to produce a joint Quality, Environmental and Health and Safety Manuals and to refer to it as the ‘Company Manual’.
- A collection of documents forming an Environmental Management Manual.
- A manual providing good links to all other parts of the system.
Document control for an EMS is similar to that in a QMS. There should already be a suitable document control procedure in your ISO 9000 system if you are certified.
Document control relies on:
- Systematic numbering of documents with a title, date and version number.
- Review, revision and approval procedures.
- Controlled withdrawal of obsolete documents and issue of new versions.
Section 4.4.5 of ISO 14001 requires a procedure for document control.
- A written procedure for document control.
Operational controls/procedures should be developed for all situations where their absence could lead to a deviation from the environmental policy. Keep procedures simple and use pictures and flow diagrams if possible.
Note: Simple notices can be regarded as procedures if they are controlled by the EMS.
Every procedure should have an ‘owner’, who is responsible for writing the procedure, writing future updates and ensuring that the procedure is used. Decentralised ownership of procedures will spread out the work when they need to be updated.
Existing procedures developed for a QMS may be amended for ISO 14001. These can include procedures for:
- Bulk deliveries.
- Management of resource consumption.
- Site waste management.
- Control of pollution abatement plant.
- Energy management.
- Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) and inspection.
Section 4.4.6 of ISO 14001 requires the identification of critical activities related to significant aspects, policy, objectives and targets and the development of documented procedures. An examination of supply chain issues for contractors and suppliers is also required.
- Procedures for all situations where their absence could lead to a deviation from the environmental policy.
Remember: Say you do and then do what you say.
- Environmental Management Systems for the plastics industry (GG251). Copy available here.
- Finding and reducing waste in plastics processing (GG277).
Available free from the Environment and Energy Helpline (0800 585 794)
The "Practical Environmental Management Systems" series is designed to give plastics processors an insight into how to implement an Environmental Management System. The series is being published in Polymer Engineering on a monthly basis and is published here after the Polymer Engineering publication. The series is:
Part 1: Clean business = good business
Part 2: Starting out
Part 3: Managing interactions with the environment
Part 4: The basic EMS system (This section)
Part 5: Operating an EMS system
Download the complete series as an Adobe Acrobat file.
Last edited: 11/03/10
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