ISO 14001 Audit Methodologies

The ISO 14001 standard for Environmental Management Systems includes specific requirements, and achieving full conformance requires a solid understanding of its specifications and associated guidance materials. There are a number of requirements which need to be fulfilled in order to become an ISO 14001 auditor. There are some of the potential benefits of adopting EMS audits as the basis of any such additional monitoring:

  • They provide a structured means of identifying deficiencies in the system, agreeing on corrective action, and following up to confirm effectiveness.
  • They provide a means of confirming that the EMS policy is understood and is being implemented.
  • They give management confidence that the system is being implemented in the manner prescribed.

There are four specific tasks must be addressed under management system Audit section of the standard. First, the organization must develop a program and related procedures that define an audit plan of the environmental management system. In addition the program must define frequency of the audit process. Second, the procedures must specify the methodology of the audit process, including the qualifications of the auditors. Third, the audit reports must be submitted to top management. Fourth, the audit reports must provide recommendations directed at correcting any reported nonconformance that was discovered in the audit process. As a specification standard, it can be used as an audit tool, to evaluate whether an organization has a complete EMS in place. The methodology of the audit process required by the standard requires by determining whether the environmental management system conforms to the requirements of ISO 14001, and that the system has been managed as described in the Environmental Policy statement, the Environmental Objectives and Targets, and the related work descriptions and procedures. It is critical that an audit report that relates a nonconformance be forwarded to top management promptly. The internal audit staff must be competent with respect to the requirements of ISO 14001.

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