As the second on our three-part series, this article gives suggestions about what an auditor should ask Top Management when conducting an Environmental Management System audit.
We know from our last post that one of the first things the auditor will do on-site after the opening meeting is conduct an interview with the organisation’s Top Management. We endeavor to make this task easier for all concerned, and as such we have written twelve questions which we believe Top Management should know about their Environmental Management System.
- Does your Environmental policy include the framework for setting and reviewing environmental objectives and targets? (Clause 4.2)
- Has your organisation identified the environmental aspects of its activities, products and services that have or can have a significant impact on the environment? (Clause 4.3.1)
- Are your environmental objectives and targets aligned with your organisations significant environmental impacts? (Clause 4.3.3)
- Are your organisation’s Environmental objectives and targets actually measureable? And do you measure them? (Clause 4.3.3)
- Are your Environmental objectives and targets cascaded through the organisation and do they align from top to bottom? (Clause 4.3.3)
- Have programmes been developed to achieve the organisation’s environmental objectives and targets, and do they include who is responsible and the means and time frames for achievement? (Clause 4.3.3)
- Does your training include not only employees, but also those working on behalf of your organisation, such as subcontractors and volunteers? (Clause 4.4.2)
- Are all of your people, including those working on behalf of your organisation, made aware of the potential consequences of departure from specified procedures? (Clause 4.4.2d)
- Have you documented your decision as to whether your organisation communicates externally about your significant aspects? (Clause 4.4.3)
- Do you have documented procedures to control your organisation’s significant aspects and do these procedures include the operating criteria? (Clause 4.4.6)
- Have you communicated applicable procedures relating to your significant aspects to your suppliers and your contractors? (Clause 4.4.6)
- Do you effectively test all forms of emergency response including those not covered by an evacuation drill? (Clause 4.4.7)
Answering yes to all these questions does not assure total compliance to ISO 14001 but it does pick up on some of the key aspects of an environmental management system.