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ISO 14001 Checklists

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What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is an international standard in designing and implementing environmental management systems (EMS) that organizations can voluntarily certify for. ISO 14001 certification enhances green credentials, which subsequently boosts business image, improves cost control, and reduces accidents or incidents caused by environmental factors.

This article briefly discusses: 1) implementation steps for ISO 14001 using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle; 2) free downloadable ISO 14001:2018 templates, and 3) technology to help you streamline ISO reporting and compliance.

Implementing ISO 14001 using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle

The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA) organizes EMS processes and helps organizations follow the standard in proper order during implementation of ISO 14001. The PDCA cycle can be simplified into 3 easy-to-follow steps. Below are the different processes, together with the steps they entail:

  • PLAN: planning environmental performance evaluation by selecting relevant indicators. The planning step entails the following:
    • Read and understand the standard ISO 14001:2015 and prepare legal requirements.
    • Conduct an ISO readiness test or self-assessment to identify gaps in your current system and processes.
    • Develop an implementation plan using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle
    • Define your organization’s competency and training requirements for ISO 14001:2018
    • Ensure competence needs are met and that all parties involved are kept in the loop.
  • DO: collecting and analyzing data, assessing information, and reporting results.
    • Operate the planned EMS and operational controls.
  • CHECK & ACT: review and improve overall environmental performance.

ISO 14001 Internal Audits

As mentioned above a key part of the check & act section is to perform an internal audit. You do not need to have a separate internal audit for Environmental Management Systems, there is no reason why you can’t use one process for your internal audits that combines both QMS and EMS. If you can complete your audit in one visit then that is a large benefit to you and your company.

The first thing to do when starting an ISO 14001 internal audit is to schedule it in. It sounds simple but making sure it’s scheduled in is half the battle. The frequency is often once a year but depending on your particular environment or your past audit performance, it may be appropriate to do them more frequently. The schedule should be available to employees and managers because at this stage you don’t want a surprise audit, as it may disrupt work unnecessarily.

Once it’s scheduled in the next stage is to perform the audit. The key thing for an internal audit is that you are not using the audit to judge legal compliance. You are instead measuring if the process designed to manage the planned environmental conditions are appropriate. For example, Are corrective actions being addresses? Are environmental operational controls in place?

Like all internal audits you the whole process is pointless unless you report it. If people who are part of the process and are doing well, they need to know that. If there are problems to be addressed they need to be addressed and corrected. Finally, all opportunities need to be identified and provided to the all employees involved in the process.

iAuditor as an ISO 14001 Auditing Tool

Paper-based audits can be burdensome and time-consuming. Replace your paper audits with a digital auditing app to save more time and increase productivity. iAuditor, the world’s most powerful mobile inspection app, can help you perform better internal ISO audits, monitor EMS activities, and track your organization’s environmental performance. iAuditor lets you:

Here is a collection of our carefully prepared workplace safety checklists you can browse and use as part of achieving ISO 14001 certification and ongoing compliance.




Sare Hawes

SafetyCulture staff writer