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Main elements of ISO 14001 environmental management systems


Environmental policy

Top management shall define its organisation's environmental policy, and ensure it is appropriate to the environmental impact of its activities, products and services.

Commitment to continuous improvement, prevention of pollution and compliance with legislation and regulations shall be documented, implemented and maintained.

The environmental objectives and targets shall be set and reviewed.

The policy shall be communicated to all persons working for the organisation and be made available to the public.


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Procedures shall be established and maintained for activities, products and services which can have significant impacts on the environment.

Procedures are required for identifying applicable legal requirements and maintaining objectives and targets at relevant functions within the organisation, whilst considering legal, technology options, financial, operational and business requirements.

Programmes shall be maintained for achieving objectives and targets including designation of responsibilities, means and time frame for achievement.

Implementation and operation

Resource with clear definition of roles, responsibilities and authority shall be provided, documented and communicated, including management representatives for reporting on the performance to top management.

Training needs shall be identified for personnel whose work may create significant impact upon the environment. Procedures are required to make employees aware of importance of conformance with policy, roles and responsibilities, emergency preparedness and response requirements.

Activities associated with significant environmental aspects shall be planned in line with policy, objectives and targets to ensure that they are conducted under specified conditions.

The potential for accident and emergency situations shall be identified in order to prevent impact on the environment that may be associated with them. A review of emergency preparedness and response procedures shall be carried out and periodically tested where practicable.

Checking and corrective action

Key characteristics of the operation which have significant impact on the environment shall be monitored and measured on a regular basis.

Monitoring equipment shall be calibrated, maintained and recorded.

Environmental legislation and regulations shall be periodically evaluated.

Non-conformances shall be investigated and action taken by authorised responsible persons. Corrective or preventative actions shall be taken to eliminate the causes of actual and potential non-conformances.

Audits of the environmental management system shall be carried out at planned intervals to determine conformance to planned arrangements.

Management review

The environmental management system shall be reviewed at planned intervals to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

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