ISO 9001 – Check If Your System Works


Quality standards are put in place by companies for many varying reasons. They wish to maintain the level of service or the quality of the product that they release to their customers. Implementing a regimented system such as ISO 9001 is one such way of taking the necessary steps and precautionary measures to ensure that the standards are met, if not exceeded.

Of course, simply putting the policies in place is not enough, regular audits need to be carried out to ensure that the system is being utilised correctly and to the maximum benefit of the customer, as well as the company. The bottom line of any business is affected by the products they produce and the service which they provide at the end of the day.

There are a number of options to consider when deciding which method is the right one for your company when referring to audits on the ISO 9001 systems you have in place.

Internal Audits 

Internal audits are most commonly used to keep an eye on how a certain policy is being carried out, and whether or not it is effective in producing the desired results. Each company will have designated a team responsible for the implementation of the ISO 9001 system and the responsibility will lie with these individuals to ensure that correct measures and actions are taken according to the policy in place. They will be responsible for ensuring that each employee is aware of the system, how it functions, the goal of the system and their place in the whole scheme of things. In order to ensure that what they have relayed to the staff has been correctly received and that they are being correctly followed, an internal audit should be regularly carried out.

An internal audit will be an official investigation into each and every area of the policy, each persons role in the implementation of the policy, as well as the administrative work involved in recording the results.

Professional Audit By An Outside Company

There are instances where companies will make use of external auditing companies. This is one way of obtaining a completely objective results based on the finding on site at the time of the auditing process. This team of professionals is trained in the ISO 9001 policy and are up to date on changes and requirements at all times.

Although an external audit is not a prerequisite for ISO 9001, many companies make use of such an audit to safeguard themselves and to ensure that their standards are being kept to the absolute highest levels for their customers.

The Customer and Audits

It is the view of a number of companies that the customer is the one who should have the final say as to whether the product or service standards are at a respectable level. Allowing the customer to audit the ISO 9001 process and offer feedback on whether or not it is effective or offer suggestions on how they feel the procedure could be adjusted is a sure way of gaining the confidence, respect and support of your client base.

It is after all the customer who is on the receiving end of the final result or finished products.

Audits are an extremely important part of implementing any procedure and process whether it be ISO 9001 or any other. Systems need to be in place to ensure quality is held and maintained. Putting policies in place needs to be dealt with systematically and clearly so each person involved is aware of exactly what is expected of them during the process. Audits ensure that each individual understands their part and carries their duties out as part of the team.

A huge part of any policy or procedure is of course the paperwork. There are rules and guidelines put in place by any policy governing how matters need to be recorded, whether they be general daily checks, incidents, or feedback of any sort. This paperwork needs to be kept updated and correctly stored for future use. These records are really the companies way of visually checking whether or not the policy or procedure is  reaching the desired results and whether or not guidelines are being followed correctly and fully understood.

When a particular policy works to the greatest advantage of both the company and the customer, it is deemed successful. A successful policy not only ensures the standards of products or services but in doing so assists in maintaining health and safety, morale of the workforce and general well-being within the company. High standards and quality products or services will generate the revenue that every company is looking for.

Tips To Successful ISO 9001

  • Policies should be written clearly and in a manner that can be understood by all.
  • Policies need to be explained meticulously to each member involved to ensure that everyone knows their place within the team and their duties.
  • The goals of the policy need to be clearly defined.
  • Regular audits, whether internal, external or client audits, must be carried out regularly.
  • Any policy, in order to be successful, must navigate the company towards change, advancement and improvement.

For any company to gain the success they are seeking within their chosen industry they need to have a firm grip on what goes on within the confines of their company. ISO 9001 certification allows this to take place if it is correctly implemented and regularly monitored. Structure, guidelines and rules leave little room for error, ensuring that below standard products and services do not make it to the feet of the customer. Build your brand today, ensure quality, and grow within your industry.

A workforce acting as a team towards a common goal is a force to be reckoned with and what that is likely to reach the top. It is important to let your staff members know that each of their input is valuable in the pursuit of achieving the results required.

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Audiometric Testing In The Workplace

Audiometric testing in the work environment is part of the employer’s duties to carry out. It needs to be ascertained what the individual’s hearing levels are to begin with. An audiometer is used to measure these levels. Onsite Audiometric test measures the ability to discriminate between a variety of different sound intensities, pitches, and the ability to distinguish spoken word from background noise. The results of these tests can be used to determine, investigate, and treat hearing loss or disease of the ear.

Audiometric testing

In many work environments, high noise levels are unavoidable. Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable. Minimizing of risks to both he employer and employee are of great importance. Regulations are in place to protect the hearing of employees and to enforce hearing tests for those who work in noisy environments in order to keep check of any damage being caused.

Occupational health management, in conjunction with audiometric testing is used for various reasons in the workplace.These include:

  • Reduction of sick leave
  • Early detection of ill-health or potential problem areas
  • Compliance with Noise at Work Regulations
  • Reduction of industrial compensation claim liabilities

In the workplace where noise is excessive, all employees must be provided with hearing protection apparatus that is sufficient to dull the noise entering the ear, and prevent damage and hearing loss.

There is a specific code of practice set down for all companies to follow in order to manage noise and prevent hearing loss at work. There are two types of assessments that can be carried out.

Baseline assessment is a first assessment that is carried out within three months of an employee starting work. The baseline assessment has a validity of ten years and any subsequent assessments are compared against this initial baseline assessment. This is a way of tracking any changes in the hearing condition of the employee. A baseline assessment should be carried out on an employee when they have been in relative quiet for a number of hours before the assessment. This is so that true results are reflected. After this initial baseline assessment expires, a new baseline will be taken after ten years and any subsequent thereafter, are compared to the new baseline assessment.

Monitoring assessments are carried out periodically every twelve to twenty-four months and are commonly conducted after a shift where the employee has been subjected to the usual noisy environment. This is so that it can be determined what the resulting temporary hearing loss is per shift. By doing this, it is easier to determine what permanent damage may be caused over an extended period. Results of these tests offer the employee and opportunity to place greater importance and care on how diligently they use their hearing protection. The company is also more readily able to evaluate how effective their noise management processes are.

Each employee needs to receive correct training of how to use their hearing protection correctly in order to reduce the damage caused effectively.

Hearing in the workplace is imperative in emergency situations. Realizing and being warned of imminent danger could prevent life-threatening situations.

It is in the best interest of employers to take care of their employees in order to ensure a strong workforce, one which is not prone to unproductive days off, and unnecessary claims off industrial compensation. These are all costly to the company, less costly than the care taken to properly assess, look after, and train the staff in proper practices to protect their hearing.

Audiometric testing in the workplace is not necessarily only to judge noise induced hearing loss, it can be used to diagnose more serious issues such as cancer which can be life threatening.

Similar methods of audiometric testing are used when testing in the workplace as with any other hearing test. Results are placed in graph format which make it easy to decipher where there are any points of weakness.

The Hard Facts

In the mining and construction industries, two out of three workers will suffer hearing loss by the time they reach the age of fifty years old. Constant subjection to heavy machinery and loud operations in the workplace has made noise induced hearing loss more prevalent. Hearing is essential for good safety practice. In times of emergency, the ability to hear properly could reduce disastrous effects.

Armed forces in active duty are subjected to noise level of gigantic proportions. More than fifty percent of troops returning from Afghanistan suffer from noise induced hearing loss or some kind of acoustic trauma.

Farmers are three times more likely to suffer hearing loss than any other industry. From a young age, these people are subjected to harmful noises like tractors, combines, and even the sound made by squealing pigs.

Noise related hearing loss is the second most prevalent work related ailment suffered by fire fighters.

The manufacturing sector holds the majority share of industry and is the largest producer of noise risk than any other. Occupational hearing loss in this industry is excpetionally high.

Noise induced hearing loss is permanent and is definitely not reversible. It cannot be remedied, simply aided by use of equipment like hearing aids. If this hearing impairment goes untreated, productivity of the employee will drop.

Can companies really afford the losses that may result from a workforce who is subjected to hearing loss caused through noise in the workplace? The answer here is a resounding no. It is more cost-effective to put their efforts into managing noise levels in the workplace, offering effective training in how to protect your hearing, and providing the best equipment for this purpose.

For the safety of yourself, and that of your fellow workers, take care of your hearing. Wear the appropriate hearing protection and use it in the correct manner. Always remember that is your productivity is hindered through loss of hearing, you may suffer the consequences through less work hours and lower pay rates.

Companies are taking more responsiblity for their employees and the effects operations have on the hearing health of their staff. This can only be a positive move in the right direction for all.


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The Immense Need For The ISO 14001 Standard

ISO 14001 may have appeared to be yet another way to make money off companies, but it is in fact the complete opposite. ISO 14001 certification aims to assist organizations in maximizing their profits through efficient processes and procedures while impacting the environment less.

ISO 14001 certification

We have all seen the movies of what will be if we continue on the downward spiral we are caught in at present. Climate change is very real, and is affecting us all tremendously. Strange weather pattern, melting polar ice caps, flash floods, droughts, this is all caused through the human and industrial carbon footprint.

Thousands of lives are lost through devastating weather occurrences, wild life and animal life is becoming extinct as their livable habitat is depleted. Smoggy air and chemical spewed into the environment cause illness and even deathly disease. Children are born with abnormalities. Why on Earth would we continue on this path of destruction? In the name of money, material gain, and industry is the answer many will give.

It no longer has to be so.

There is a way that both can exist in almost harmony with one another. Let’s face it, if industry continues as it has been for so long, there will soon be no resources left to mine and use in these industries. Humans rape and pillage the Earth for what she has to provide, but they haven’t given a thought to what will happen when she no longer has any more.

What legacy are we leaving for future generations? If the path continues as it is, the material wealth and monetary gain will be of no use to those future generations. The time is now to try and find a harmonious co-existence where the environment is given the respect that it deserves.

ISO 14001 was developed and finalized in 1996. This is a mean by which industry and environment can co-exist. It is a learning curve for all and the benefits for both the organizations and the environment are far reaching.

ISO 14001 is an environmental management system which provides regulations by which industries must abide in order for them to be deemed as environmentally friendly. With all the attention on the decline of the environment, implementing these standards will only do worlds of good for the credibility of the organization and it’s attempts at improving and reducing the impact their processes have on the environment.

Certification is internationally recognized which makes it a standard by which each industry in the world, that is certified, conforms to. Regulations such as these make the trade between international companies that much easier as the requirements are standardized. Companies are taught to effectively run their organizations without excessive use of power, use of unnecessary raw materials, and are shown how to effectively use their waste materials rather than discard them into the environment to wreak havoc on the sensitive ecosystems that live there.

Yes, the process is costly and time consuming but can you really put a price tag on our environment? The answer is a resounding no! What future do your children or grandchildren have, if we continue to destroy what is also rightfully theirs?

The benefits to the company itself are invaluable. The additional profits through cost saving actions, will pay for your environmental management system implementation one hundred fold, and all within a matter of years. Your employees will no longer be subjected to unhealthy working environments, they will be a part of something meaningful which will result ultimately in a healthier working environment. Each employee will be accountable, giving them a purpose for their position. More efficient systems will allow your employees to feel less stressed and more readily available to work to their potential. Happy, healthy, and contented staff are the keys to productivity and a company that is motivated for a common cause.

It is however, not only up to the employees to take responsibility, the management and top management have to be actively involved in the processes and really understand the processes and procedures themselves. The too need to be accountable for their actions and decisions. Communication lines are opened up between employees and management and everything regarding the management system is readily available for whoever requires or feels they would like to have a look. Results are documented and change is ever-progressing. The only way to perfection is through change. Change what isn’t working as effectively as it should and keep what is working. The employees are the workforce that will do most of the heavy lifting as such and in saying that, they need to be clear on the objectives of the management system and their role in the process.

Training must be provided to ensure that all employees are on key with their knowledge and skill relating to the management system and their position therein. This is a chance to increase the quality of your employees, give them meaning for their often mundane jobs, allow them to be part of something that is greater than you or them. Allow them the chance to shape the future for their families and those who come thereafter.

I know all this environmental talk often seems just that, talk, but take a look around and see for yourself. Be aware of how areas are mined and never rehabilitate, forests are destroyed and never replanted. Industry is taking over and there is nothing that is going to stop that. What can be done is the way in which these industries perceive the environment and how they respect it. Yes, the documentation involved is prolific, but really it is for a cause that will far outlive us.

Damage has been done, and we aren’t sure we can undo that, but going forward we can ensure that how we treat the environment is completely different. The environment provides for us on a personal and business level, don’t you think it’s about time we showed it the honor and respect it deserves.

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Be Ready – ISO 14001 certification

It is not a fast and easy decision to decide to undergo the process of obtaining ISO 14001 certification. Research needs to be carried out, and answers to nagging questions obtained. Although you, on ground level, along with your management are aware of the benefits of implementing the standards and obtaining the certification, it is not always an easy task to convince the powers that be, that the cost is well warranted.  There will always be questions posed by the higher level management, questions that will need addressing before there is any hope that certification process will be granted.

ISO 14001 certification

  • Why should we obtain this certification?
  • What benefits are there for the company or organization?
  • What are the cost implications?
  • Who will carry out all the work?
  • How do we obtain this certification?

All very valid questions and ones that must be answered if a full commitment is to be obtained from the higher management.

Large companies throughout the world are obtaining ISO 14001, and this is always a sure sign that that is the route to take. Big multi-national companies are on top of their game in business and are acutely aware of the trends and market. Following their lead is never a bad thing.

The reasons and benefits for adopting an environmental managment system are wide and varied.  International standards and accreditation make it easier to trade internationally as well as nationally. There are no barriers caused through differences in legislation or standards between cooperating companies. A company who has taken the time and made the effort to obtain third party certification such as ISO 14001 is much more credible in the business world. It reveals to all the companies innate commitment to compliance with regulations and a continuous effort on focusing on the environmental impact and issues related to their business. Companies can benefit from incentives issued or presented to companies who show a willingness and who show environmental leadership through certification with an environmental management system. This is one way of preventing stopping pollution and environmental impact and reducing waste within the operation. Consumers these days are committed to saving our environment and prefer to purchase items that are eco-friendly or “green”, but they need assurance that the products or services are in fact so.  Environmentalists can apply pressure to companies that is something they don’t want to feel. They are able to take legal action against companies who are not doing their part for the reduction of environmental impact. These legal battles can draw negative attention to the company involved and keep them tied up in costly litigation for extended periods of time. If you have a team who is committed to your cause, you are assured that this is a workforce that is powerful and high-quality. These individuals seek to be a part of the bigger picture and are in need of a safe and healthy working environment. All corporate companies have insurance and you may find that your insurance company is less likely to pay out on incidents caused through pollution if you,as a company, don’t have an environmental management system in place, one that is efficient and has a proven track record. If you are seeking new insurance or additional coverage, you may be hindered through the lack of an environmental management system.

Cost implications of such a certification are heavy but the benefits far outweigh the costs. These are costs that will go towards the greater development of your company and the way your company is perceived by investors, suppliers, and customers alike.

Undergoing the process of obtaining certification is a job that is loaded with responsibility and work. It is the responsibility of the environmental management team to take responsibility for their areas. Each person needs to understand their position and the impact of their work on the environment. Everybody must be accountable for decisions and actions. Of course, this is an area where management has to be actively involved. They are the leaders which the troops will mirror. They need to have a full understanding of the policies and the procedures and take responsibility. Upper management needs to back the process from the outset and offer the system the support and leadership it needs to achieve and succeed.

There are many companies now who provide the services of performing the tasks and processes and doing the evaluations in order for your company to obtain certification. The road to certification is not easy, and will not always be smooth.

There are a number of steps that need to be followed in order to gain this recognition and certification. Each step is dependent on the step that came before it.

  • Application or contact
  • Initial assessment and document review where a number of things will be evaluated, these include: The Environmental Management System Manual, analysis of the environmental impacts, applicable regulatory requirements, audit reports, organization charts, training programs or courses, management review minutes, and of course your companies plans for continual improvement and development of the system.
  • Certification assessment
  • Certification
  • Certification Maintenance

Convincing the powers that be is not an easy task, but is you have the team behind you and the commitment towards achieving a more environmentally friendly operation, you will do the necessary research and win them over with all the right answers. They need to understand how viable this certification is in boosting the quality of the workplace, the products, retaining customers, and prolonging the life of our ever deteriorating environment.

It is time for all business leaders to take the initiative and commit to a system that is for the greater good of all mankind. A healthy, happy, and safe workforce will always be more productive than an workforce who is constantly operating under unhealthy, or unhappy conditions. Allow your employees to feel that they are needed for this process to work, they are an imperative part of the implementation and success of processes and procedures. They need to understand the impact of their actions and be held accountable. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something that is so amazing?


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Internal Audit and External Audit

The aim of an internal audit is to evaluate a management system and to improve the effectiveness thereof. By continually evaluating and improving, an organization of company is better able to reach their objectives and goals. Systems are evaluated and this assists management in maintaining control over the processes and gives them the ability to continually improve them.

ISO 14001 certification

Management, along with internal auditors, work through each system and process systematically and review them. This kind of audit is in place to review how well a particular process is geared towards risk management. These audits also help to ascertain whether the correct processes are in fact in place and whether or not those in place are being adhered to. Audits make it easy to pinpoint areas where efficiency needs to be stepped up or where new and fresh ideas need to be brought to the fore in order to maximize the performance of the processes.

Every area of operation is thoroughly investigated during an internal audit. Any part of the business operation that deals with customers, suppliers, environmental impact, employees, health and safety, as well as issues related to the requirements of ISO 14001. Areas that are investigated do not leave out areas such as organizational skills, and ethics. These are areas that are intangible, but still key to complete operational perfection.

The internal audit report is presented to the powers that be, the CEO, and management. The audits introduce a viewpoint that is independent from those harbored by those involved directly in the organization. The report offers valid and objective accounts on how the company is performing and to what extent success will be achieved, with the current processes in place.

External audits differ vastly from internal audits. External audits are carried out by third party participants. These audits are usually carried out to ascertain the degree to which a company or organization management systems conform with the requirements of certain standards like the ISO 14001 certification for instance.

External audits do not focus on the entire business and all it’s processes but only on those which bear reference to the certification in question. The processes implemented to carry out and achieve the requirements of the certification, are evaluated. The areas where the organization seems to be lacking are pinpointed and from there suggestions are made on how this can be rectified. The recorded changes, results, improvements, an successes are evaluated and it is ensured that all paperwork recorded conforms with the requirements of the particular standard.

Once ISO 14001 certification is granted to an organization, it doesn’t end there. Although the certification is valid for three years, the organization, its processes, and conformance are all evaluated on a regular basis, usually annually. This is to ensure that procedures put in place, are in fact sufficient and that they do conform with requirements. ISO 14001 certification is an ongoing process and not one where you can slack off once the certification has been awarded.. There has to be notable improvements in processes, and the results of the impact on the environment, need to show reduction through actions taken by the environmental management team.

Each person needs to be answerable during an external audit. Yes, the management and leadership have the responsibility of providing answers, but they need to be able to rely on their environmental management team to make choices and have the ability to provide them with answers on why certain action was taken. The team are answerable to the leadership and management who face the music with the third party auditing company.

An organization needs to pass an external audit, in order to uphold their ISO 14001 certification. The ISO 14001 certification requirements, if put in place properly, are not only there to reduce environmental impact, but also to improve the overall operational performance of the organization.

Audits, whether internal or external, are key in ensuring operational and functional performance of an organization. Without these audits, key members in the organization will not have the insight into the problem areas in the business that need to be addressed. Audits are a way of enabling management and leadership to incorporate innovative ideas and processes to improve wherever possible.

An audit, whether internal or external, should offer no problem to an organization if their processes and results are properly monitored and recorded. Paperwork, documents, and documenting any problems, corrective action, or changes is imperative to assisting the auditors in helping the business owner, managers, or leadership to identify areas that need work or change. Member involved in these processes and documentation need to be held accountable for their work, ensuring that it is perfect. Leadership and management need to make those on the environmental management team inspired, motivated, and determined. They need to understand the importance of their function in the process and that they are responsible members of the team.

ISO 14001 certification carries with it a huge, and sometimes daunting task. Processes need to be developed, and implemented. With each process there are measurements and recordings that need to be made daily. Management needs to be hand on in a process like this, aware of changes that need to be undertaken, and the results that need to be achieved. This is not a process where management can sit back and let those given the responsibilities, do all the work. They need to have their finger on the button at all times, and be aware of what is going on and where.

Environmental impact is something that needs to be reduced by all companies, their operations, and their products. Destroy the environment through greed now, and you will eventually stifle the chance of future operation. Your environmental management system needs to have a balance whereby environmental footprint in reduced, but operational success is also achieved. This balance is not an easy one to maintain, but with a driven environmental management team in place, it is very possible to achieve and maintain.

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ISO 14001 – Key Elements

The international standard for the ISO 14001 certification follows the PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle.

ISO 14001 certification

There are certain key elements that must be followed by all organizations who seek a formal certification such as ISP 14001.The company needs to have in place and environmental policy that is avidly supported by the senior management of the said company.

The company needs to have identified environmental aspects and impacts, and are aware of which areas of their operation have an impact, and to what extent that impact is felt or may be felt.

The company needs to identify the environmental compliance requirements which need to be met. There needs to be a development of targets and objectives, and the company needs to have environmental management process in place.

Environmental management needs to have defined resources, roles, authorities, and responsibilities so that everybody involved is clear and understands what needs to be done and how it needs to be achieved.

The staff included in this environmental management process need to have the correct competence levels, training, and awareness procedures in place for effective and efficient running of the process. There needs to be open communication lines between the environmental management system and the stakeholders and interested parties.

There are certain requirements with regards to paperwork and documentation. Procedures need to be developed to ensure that all Environmental Management System documentation is line with what is required by the standard

Document control procedures need to be in place. This certification revolves around assessments and results and there is so much paperwork that needs to be correctly documented and stored.

Operational control is what allows efficient and smooth operation of the system. Their needs to be controls in place to ensure that each operation runs as it should to enable the system to be effective and efficient.

As is the nature of factory work or production, emergencies will always arise and there will need to be procedures in place and appropriate responses in place with which to confront and counteract these emergencies. In this instance, the emergencies will refer to environmental impact.

Records in a process like this, are extremely integral to the efficient running and success of the management system. There needs to be a process in place where records are correctly managed and easily accessible when required.

All operations that have the possibility of impacting the environment, need to have procedures in place to carefully monitored and measure in order to keep a tight grasp on how they are in fact impacting the environment, and to decide whether any changes need to be made.

Non-compliance to regulations needs to be managed efficiently. A procedure needs to be in place to report these instances of non-compliance and corrective and preventative measures need to be recommended and implemented.

Internal Environmental Management Systems need to be audited. A program for these audits needs to be set up and the corrective actions for anything found that is not working efficiently, needs to be formulated.

Procedures for management review by the Senior Management Staff needs to be designed and implemented.

Any of the procedures or requirements should easily be combined into your existing procedures and safety and management systems.

ISO 14001 is a giant leap forward for companies. It shows a greater awareness of that their business is doing to our already fragile environment, and what could possibly affect the future of their business. Taking steps now to prevent or minimize future environmental damage is to the benefit of the companies themselves, as well as to the human race.

Implementing such a system is not something that can be done in half-measures, a procedure and system of this nature needs to be given every attention that it deserves. If the management system is to have the desired results, it must be given the required respect. Each and every member of the environmental management system team needs to committed to the same results.

This system is not only in place for the environment, but it also has benefits for the companies who are implementing the systems. Cost saving is a major goal of any company, and implementing a system that will teach the company methods of cost saving is always a bonus. Prolonging the life of renewable resources is another way companies can ensure that their business is able to operate into the future. The management system requires rehabilitation of areas where resources have been mined, and this is in effect a way of ensuring the renewable resources are in fact renewed. Mining an area and then leaving it to wreck and ruin is of no value to anybody.

When deciding to implement and put in place such a management system, it is always recommended that the procedures to reach the goal are followed to the letter. This will ensure that no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of certification. Using a company to assist in obtaining the certification is always best as they are aware of exactly what must be followed and what are the best methods to achieve success. They are the most efficient and effective route to gaining that all important ISO 14001 certification.

 ISO 14001 certification

Take the necessary steps today to secure the health of the environment, and the future of your company. The only way to secure a future for your company is to protect the environment which feeds it. If there are no more natural, renewable, raw resources, business is doomed. Take steps now to protect the Earth for the future generations and give them the opportunity to experience the world as we know it. Don’t allow your business to be one that negatively impacts the environment. Act responsibly and take responsibility for your actions and those of your business.

ISO 14001 is a tremendous advancement in the environmental management system as has achieved huge success where the implementation has been carried out meticulously. Yes, there is a vast amount of planning, procedures to develop, and paperwork to keep in order, but it is all worthwhile in the end.

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ISO 14001 – The Environmental Management Certification

The ISO 14001 certification is an internationally recognized certification that most companies strive to achieve and maintain in this modern day, where the environment is being so badly degraded through pollution. This certification is a system whereby companies are graded according to the immediate, and long-term effects their services or products have on the state of the environment.

ISO 14001 certification

The aim of the framework provided by the ISO 14001 certification is to assist companies to reduce the stress placed on the environment through their daily operations. The framework for environmental best practices is in place to assist companies in minimizing their environmental footprint, reduce and hopefully diminish the risk of pollution incidents, make provisions for operational improvements, ensure compliance with the relevant environmental legislation, and allow the company owners to develop their business in a sustainable manner.

The process involved with obtaining ISO 14001 certification is not one that can be taken lightly. The process is involved and requires change within the working systems of the company. A company needs to comply with various clauses of the ISO 14001 standards in order to obtain certification. The company is required to undertake huge changes and to implement policies, protocols, and procedures that are followed in order to minimize the impact of the companies operation on the environment.

The ISO 14001 certification carries with it many benefits that really do make enduring the gruelling procedure to obtain the certification, all that much more worthwhile.

Any company, no matter the size or operation, does have an impact on our environment and can therefore all benefit from implementing procedures to achieve this certification.

There are a number of benefits that are key in the deciding to undergo ISO 14001 evaluation.

  • Cost saving is identified and there is emphasis placed on waste, resource, and energy management.
  • The company is able to develop their corporate image and credibility in the business world through their continued efforts to do their part to protect the environment.
  • It allows the company the ability to keep a handle on the impact their operations have on the environment at all times, and to control it.
  • The company is made aware of legislature and they are able to comply more readily with this knowledge on hand.
  • The ability to improve environmental performance of supply chain.
  • The company, its assets, the directors, and shareholders are protected.
  • There is a possibility of reducing the public liability insurance of the company through increased awareness and efforts to keep the environmental impact at an absolute minimum.
  • Grow your network of business partners and potential customers.

We are all aware at this present moment about the degradation of the environment and the ever-increasing threat of global warming, and the possible effects this will have on our planet. How we manage our business and how we impact the environment while doing so, will have the final decision on whether or not there is a planet left for future generations.

Polar ice caps are melting, sea levels rising, animal species dying out, and weather pattern that were simply unheard of in past times. Business does take it’s toll on the environment, gas emissions and pollutants have filled the air for years, causing damage that we have no hope of rectifying, but we can go forward in a manner that reduces our future effects. Sea shores have been raped in search of minerals used in the operation and production of raw materials and products and in past times, these were simply left as is with absolutely no rehabilitation of the land at all. ISO 14001 certification is on a mission to change all that and any company that hops on board can rest assured knowing that their business won’t be the death of our planet.

What we need to bear in mind is that it is not only the environment that is impacted,but the health and well-being of employees, as well as inhabitants of the area. Being constantly subjected to harmful chemicals and fumes causes illnesses that affect the respiratory system and can even result in certain cancers, and ultimately death in many cases.

Business is always going to be around. Without it, we as the human race have nothing to trade, no economy, and many products we use on a daily basis will vanish. ISO 14001 is a compromise between companies and the environment, one that seeks to encourage economy boosting business, but keep the environment in tact at the same time.

There has to be a balance maintained, man cannot be allowed to destroy the Earth, take the valuable treasure it hides, and leave it to ruin. If man continues on a path set on that course, in a few years there will be nothing left for them to take and their business will be at an end. ISO 14001 allows business the opportunity to understand this and to create a sustainable business environment, take what you need and rehabilitate so that the resources are renewed.

Many large corporations strive to uphold their ISO 14001 certification standards, it is an excellent reflection of them as a company, and allows them to hold their heads up high in a community that has been lacking this kind of consideration and care for far too long. Integrity is built through their valiant efforts to do their part to reduce the carbon footprint of the company and to ensure a brighter future for those who will follow us.

If companies were to continue on their path of destruction, there would surely be nothing of beauty left in this world, as it is our selfish acts to date have seen the depletion of coral reefs that took thousands of years to form and develop and were home to so many species that it is unimaginable. We have ruined our sea shores and fogged up our air, but there is time to make a change. Perhaps it’s too late but we can only hope it is not.

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The Elements of An Integrated Management System

So you have decided to stop managing various management systems for your organization into one.  No more will you have to worry about hosting separate management review meetings or establishing separate objectives; one for quality, one for safety and another for environmental.  No more separate focus. One centralized them, one management system, one Now you just need to incorporate the various elements of those separate systems into one.  This article will focus on what major elements to have for an effective and efficient integrated management system (IMS).

Integrated Management system

Your IMS should capture the requirements of your specific industry best practice based on the two major ISO standard; ISO 9001 for quality and ISO 14001 for environmental.   As of now, there is no ISO standard for safety, but there is one in the works called ISO 45001. For now, we will mention OHSAS 18001.  Of these three major standards; two ISO and one not, the IMS must organize into 12 elements:

Let’s now take a look at each major element separately.


The organization must prepare an effective policy that provides a clear direction for the organization; a commitment to continuous improvement along with compliance to regulatory agencies and customers’s requirements.


An effective management structure and defined activities should be put in place to provide deliverable of their company policy. This is accomplished through objectives and targets that are developed for all managers and employees.


For effective implementation, the organization should provide the mechanisms necessary to achieve its policy, objectives and targets. All members of the workforce should be encouraged, empowered and engaged in the management system and all facets of the organizations process and production stages.


Wherever possible, risks to the business and the organization should be identified and eliminated through the selection and design of equipment, processes and facilities.


Employees need to know about the risks and threats to their industry and organization and how to control their exposure. The best way for them to gain this knowledge is through education and training.


A successful IMS is one that is able to effectively measure, monitor and evaluate its performance. Performance can be measured against standards to reveal when and where improvement is needed. Active self-monitoring through periodic assessments, inspections and observations reveals how effectively the IMS management system is or is not functioning.

In conclusion, all IMS’s are based on the same fundamental concepts :

  • Process management and control : ensure that processes deliver the intended results and that applicable requirements are complied with.
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act approach to management and process control : establish objectives, define the processes needed, monitor progress and compliance, take action where necessary, and consider improvement opportunities.  An integrated  management system enables an organization to carefully examine what they do, define and implement improvements and continuously review and manage systems and processes.

Integrated Management system

PLAN Plan the safety management system.

DO – Implement the safety management system.

CHECK – Evaluate the safety management system.

ACT – Improve the safety management system.

  • Risk management : identify the risks that provide threats and opportunities, and implement controls to minimize negative effects on performance and maximize potential benefits.



Posted in Integrated Management System

What In The World Is An Integrated Management System

In the modern business world of globalization, having a defined management system that focuses on all faucets of an organization’s processes are beneficial to remain competitive.  For example, a quality system that focuses on meeting customer and regulatory requirements, an environmental system that establishes objects for waste minimization or a safety system that focus on identifying hazards in the workplace.  All of these pillars within any organization are extremely important to focus on sustainability and continuous improvement within each pillar.

Integrated Management system

Unfortunately, the down side of incorporating these systems are:

  • takes an enormous amount of resources to create, deploy and maintain each individual pillar.
  • at conflict with one another since they work independently.

As an example, the safety department is concerned with the safety management system, a Quality Control Manager handles the quality management system (QMS).  The pillars are narrowly focused on their opportunities and problem solving principles.

Here are a few examples of management systems by pillars:

QMS – Quality Management System

A set of policies, processes and procedures required for planning and execution an organizations production processes that can impact the organization’s ability to meet customer requirements.

  • ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems
  • AS9100 Aerospace and Defense
  • ISO 13485 Medical Devices
  • TS 16949 Automotive

EMS – Environmental Management System

Continuously seeks improvement opportunities within an organizations’ environmental footprint and regulatory performance.

  • ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

SMS – Safety Management System

Similar to EMS only that this system focuses on personal safety performance and regulatory status.

  • OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

ISMS – Information Security Management System

Determines how your organization should organize and manage its information security.

  • ISO 27000 Internet Security Management System

FSMS – Food Safety Management System

Confirms that corporations specifically within the food industy follow various procedures and guidelines to ensure their products for customer safety.

  • FSSC 22000 Food Safety Certification
  • ISO 22000
  • SQF

Now you understand the amount of resources to manage individually these pillars along with how conflicts can arise.  The good news is that there is a solution, an integrated management system, also known as IMS.

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Gap Analysis

While undertaking your ISO Quality Management System implementation or transitioning from an old version to a new version the requirement is to compare your current system with the requirements of the ISO standard. The objective is to find out the gaps in your organization which have to be filled. This is called Gap Analysis.

ISO Gap Analysis

The first thing to do is to identify one or more people to conduct the Gap Analysis. If they have some quality or audit experience then it is helpful. You can also consider using an ISO Consultant to carry out the Gap Analysis.  After that you should create or purchase a Gap Analysis Checklist.

The auditor uses this Gap Analysis Checklist to compare the Quality Management System that is in place with the requirements of the standard. Where there is a shortfall it is called a gap.

The checklists helps the auditor with recommendations of what documents to look for, examples of what meets the requirements and guidance on auditing to the standard. The checklist also provides the auditor with a place to document what they saw that did or did not meet the standard.

Scheduling the Gap Analysis

In the first step you must schedule the Gap Analysis and inform all the employees about what is being done and why.

To make the employees comfortable with answering the auditor’s questions, you can send a newsletter to the employees about the Gap Analysis to be performed, when and why and by whom it is going to be performed.

  • Decide if you will audit by process/procedure or by area of the organization.
  • Divide the area of the facility into manageable regions, if you are auditing by the area.
  • Divide time to audit each part of the standard that applies to a specific area.
  • If you have an audit team, then assign them various areas of the organization.
  • Arrange the Gap Analysis Checklists so that each auditor has sections of the standard that are applicable to the area they will cover.

Conduct the Gap Analysis

  • Closely follow the audit schedule that you have prepared. Go to each area of the organization to evaluate the management system.
  • Concentrate on what is in –place and what is not in place. You must tell the auditors that they are not focusing on compliance or non-compliance to the current management system or standard but on the design of the system and how it matches the standard’s requirements.
  • Develop notes on what is not in place and what is in place and what needs to be developed and what needs to be changed, Reference documents and examples from the existing system.
  • Document where the processes link to other processes in the system.

Complete the Gap Analysis Report

Finally you should summarize the audit findings as a task or to do list.

You have to identify several types of tasks such as:

  • Processes that are documented and comply with the standard.
  • Processes that must be documented and comply with the standard.
  • Processes that must be redesigned because they don’t comply with the standard.
  • Processes that are not currently in place but are required by the standard.

You have to identify the status of the system with each requirement of the standard. The information gained from this exercise will be used by the ISO steering team to assign timelines responsibilities to teams. Task teams will get responsibilities for development of specific procedures.

Develop a plan for implementation

To make a plan for implementation you have to decide on your goals for the ISO project. You have to answer the following questions:

  • When will you start the ISO project? You can consider Gap Analysis as the start of your project.
  • When do you want to complete the ISO project?

You must schedule the Gap Analysis and inform the employees about its objectives and its importance as the start of the ISO project. You have to make the employees comfortable with answering the auditor’s questions.

The shorter that time that you plan for ISO certification the more resources will be required by the project during implementation. You have to set a realistic date for certification. Find out if there are any company goals attached to certification like client requirement. As you start implementing the project your target date may be revised. As you move along the gap analysis and create the task list you shall be able to determine if your target date is realistic. It depends on what documentation and quality level you have in place in your system and how many resources are you able to dedicate to the project.

A Gap Analysis will normally take between two to five days to complete. It depends on the size of your organization, the level of your current quality or other system, the number and experience of the auditors.


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