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It is important to share the organization’s commitments with its employees, contractors and others who work on behalf of the organization so that they understand top managements’ expectations and can perform their work in a manner that contributes to meeting these expectations. Making the environmental policy publicly available, or available on request, provides assurance to interested parties that the organization is doing its part to achieve positive environmental outcomes.
The environmental policy should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains relevant and appropriate to the organization.
Clause 5.2 Environmental Policy – Quick Check
Is the policy documented?
Do you apply document control to the policy?
Were top management involved in the formulation of the policy?
Did you consider nature, scale and environmental impacts of activities, products and services when writing the policy?
Does your policy include specific commitments relevant to purpose and context of the organisation?
Does your policy provide a framework for setting environmental objectives?
Does your policy include a commitment to the protection of the environment, including prevention of pollution?
Does your policy include a commitment to fulfill compliance obligations?
Does your policy include a commitment to continual improvement of the EMS to enhance environmental performance?
Are mechanisms in place to communicate the policy within the organisation?
Are mechanisms in place to make the policy available to external interested parties?
The Basic Safety Standards Directive establishes basic safety standards for the protection of the health of individuals subject to occupational and public exposures against the dangers arising from ionising radiation. The Basic Safety Standards Directive replaces five earlier pieces of legislation which contained inconsistencies, did not fully reflect scientific progress or fully cover natural radiation sources or the protection of the environment. It sets out how to ensure the safety and security of radioactive material and the mandatory information that must be provided in the event of an exposure emergency.
The Directive applies to any planned, existing or emergency situation which involves a risk from exposure to ionising radiation. In particular, it applies to:
the manufacture, production, processing, handling, disposal, use, storage, holding, transport, import to and export from the EU of radioactive material;
the manufacture and operation of electrical equipment emitting ionising radiation;
human activities with natural radiation sources that could lead to a significant increase in the exposure of employees or the public, such as the exposure of space crew to cosmic radiation;
domestic exposure to radon gas in indoor air and external exposure to gamma radiation from building materials;
managing emergency exposure situations that require measures to protect the public and workers.
The Directive sets out general principles of radiation protection, giving a more prominent role to dose constraints for occupational, public and medical exposure. An annex lists the bands of reference levels proposed by the ICRP for existing and emergency exposure situations. Special provision is made to protect pregnant and breastfeeding employees and apprentices and students.
The scope of the new Regulations includes any planned, existing or emergency exposure situation, which involves a risk from exposure to ionising radiation that cannot be disregarded from a radiation protection point of view or with regard to the environment in view of long-term human health protection.
Part 2 – Regulatory Control
Justification of Practices
The EPA introduces requirements addressing the justification of practices. Practices cannot be authorised unless it falls in a class or activity that is:
carried out immediately before the commencement of these Regulations
justified by the EPA with respect to its economic, social, health, environmental or other benefits
justified by the Health Information and Quality Authority with respect to medical exposures.
The new Regulations introduce a system of tiered or graded authorisation covering both registration and licensing. Registration will have a lower cost and administrative burden and will be appropriate to radiation practices, which have been shown to be of relatively low risk. Licensing will continue to apply to high risk practices. Table 1 and Table 2 below detail the practices subject to registration and licensing respectively.
Table 1: Practices subject to registration
General radiography giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation. Note that CT, fluoroscopy, interventional and mobile X-ray remain subject to licensing.
Bone densitometry giving rise to a medical exposure
Mammography for health screening in a medical radiological installation
Specimen radiography for medical purposes
Dental radiography using a fixed intra/extra oral unit
Dental cone beam CT in a risk assessed clinic
General veterinary radiography carried out in a risked assessed veterinary clinic
Product inspection/industrial radiography using cabinet X-ray systems
Use of laboratory equipment incorporating sealed sources
Use of XRF or XRD equipment
Transport of source(s) other than High Activity Sealed Sources (HASS)
Security screening of baggage, cargo or parcels using X-ray within shielded enclosure
Security screening for explosive vapour detection using sealed sources
Table 2: Practices subject to licensing
Radiotherapy using a LINAC in a medical radiological installation
Radiotherapy using Brachytherapy in a medical radiological installation
Radiotherapy using X-Ray in a medical radiological installation
Interventional radiology giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
CT giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
Mobile radiography giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
Fluoroscopy giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
Nuclear medicine for treatment giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
Nuclear medicine for diagnosis giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
PET/CT giving rise to a medical exposure in a medical radiological installation
Dental radiography using a mobile/handheld unit
General veterinary radiography carried out in a risked assessed veterinary clinic
Veterinary nuclear medicine
Veterinary radiography using CT
General veterinary radiography performed in the field
Use of unsealed sources in industry/laboratories
Use of sealed sources in industrial process control
Use of nuclear moisture density gauges
Use of sealed sources in offshore exploration
Radiopharmaceutical production in a cyclotron
Product irradiation/sterilisation using sealed sources
Product irradiation/sterilisation using E-beams
Industrial radiography using X-ray systems
Industrial radiography using sealed sources
Assembly or manufacture of devices incorporating sealed sources
Transport of High Activity Sealed Sources (HASS)
X-ray system for cargo/container screening of vehicles
Use of ionising radiation for non-medical human imaging
Use of ionising radiation for teaching or research in a third level college
Radioactive Waste Licences
The EPA has also introduced requirements pertaining to the licensing of radioactive waste management facilities or practices involving radioactive waste management. Applicants for such licenses are required to carry out a safety assessment covering the development, operation and decommissioning of the facility or practice. Furthermore, the disposal, recycling or reuse of radioactive materials arising from any authorised practice is subject to authorisation by the EPA.
Release from Regulatory Control
The new Regulations no longer allow the deliberate dilution of radioactive materials for the purpose of them being released from regulatory control. The mixing of materials that takes place in normal operations where radioactivity is not a consideration is not subject to this prohibition. The EPA may, in specific circumstances, authorise the mixing of radioactive and non-radioactive materials for the purposes of re-use or recycling.
Part 3 – System of Radiation Protection
Dose limit for Occupational Exposure
The Regulation introduces an effective dose for occupational exposure of 20mSV in any single year. The limit on the equivalent dose for the skin shall be 500 mSv in a year; this limit shall apply to the dose averaged over any area of 1 cm2, regardless of the area exposed; and the limit on the equivalent dose for the extremities shall be 500 mSv in a year.
The Regulation also introduces a reduced dose limit for occupational exposure to the lens of the eye. The new limit on the equivalent dose for the lens of the eye is 20 mSv in a single year or 100 mSv in any five consecutive years subject to a maximum dose of 50 mSv in a single year. The EPA will issue guidance in relation to acceptable measurement protocols for the measurement of eye dose.
Part 4 – Protection of Exposed Workers, Apprentices and Students
Responsibilities of the undertaking and employers
There are continued requirements to ensure that undertakings are responsible for assessing and implementing arrangements for the radiation protection of exposed workers, including outside workers, apprentices and students.
The new Regulation changes the definition of an “outside worker” to mean “any exposed worker who is not employed by the undertaking responsible for the supervised and controlled areas, but performs activities in those areas, including apprentices and students”. Currently, only category A workers not employed by the undertaking are considered to be outside workers. As a consequence of these new Regulations, a greater number of exposed workers will fall within the definition of outside worker.
Consultations with a Radiation Protection Adviser
In line with the Directive, the new Regulations will replace the current requirement to appoint a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) with a requirement to consult with an RPA in specified situations. Undertakings are required to provide the RPA with access to relevant information for the discharge of his or her functions in relation to the following:
the examination and testing of protective devices and measuring instruments;
the prior critical examination of plans for installations from the point of view of radiation protection
the acceptance into service of new or modified radiation sources from the point of view of radiation protection
the regular checking of the effectiveness of protective devices and techniques; and
the regular calibration of measuring instruments and the regular checking that they are serviceable and correctly used.
Role of Radiation Protection Officer
The new Regulations will set out a more defined role for Radiation Protection Officers (RPO). It is envisaged that the RPO will be an individual or unit reporting directly to the undertaking with operational responsibility for radiation protection.
Depending on the nature of the practice, the tasks of the radiation protection officer in assisting the undertaking, may include the following:
ensuring that work with radiation is carried out in accordance with the requirements of any specified procedures and working instructions;
supervising the implementation of the programme for workplace monitoring;
maintaining adequate records of all radiation sources;
carrying out periodic assessments of the conditions of the relevant safety and warning systems;
supervising the implementation of the personal monitoring programme;
supervising the implementation of the health surveillance programme;
providing new workers with an appropriate introduction to specified procedures and working instructions;
giving advice and comments on work plans;
establishing work plans;
providing reports to the local management;
participating in the arrangements for prevention, preparedness and response for emergency exposure situations;
information and training of exposed workers; and
liaising with the radiation protection adviser.
Part 5 – Categorisation and Monitoring of Workers
The Regulations have extended individual dose monitoring to outside workers; unlike the 1991 Order, which required individual dose monitoring of exposed workers, apprentices and students.
Furthermore, the new Regulations specifically state that undertakings must conduct individual dose monitoring in cases where exposed workers, outside workers, apprentices and students are liable to receive significant internal exposure or significant exposure of the lens of the eye or extremities. The 1991 Order limited individual dose monitoring requirements in cases where Category A workers are liable to receive significant internal contamination.
Part 7 – Emergency Preparedness and Response
Emergency Preparedness for Licensed Undertakings
The Regulations introduce new requirements for undertakings responsible for certain types of practice covering emergency arrangements. In the case of a practice which is subject to a licence, the undertaking must:
evaluate the possibility of a radiological emergency resulting from the practice and the potential for exposure of workers and members of the public; and
based on the evaluation, prepare an emergency response plan following consultation with a radiation protection adviser, the Agency and, where appropriate, the relevant local authority.
Part 8 – Naturally Occurring Radiation
The Regulations announce more rigorous protections with respect to indoor concentrations of radon in the workplace. The national reference level for radon levels in workplaces will decrease from 400 Bq/m3 to 300 Bq/m3. As a consequence of the new Regulations, there is a general duty on employers to carry out radon measurements in underground workplaces and in above ground workplaces identified as being liable to have high radon levels (based on the EPA’s radon risk map).
Radiation Protection Advisers and Radiation Protection Officers
Regulations 79 and 80 of the Regulations place obligations on the EPA to establish criteria for the approval of Radiation Protection Advisers and set the minimum training requirements for Radiation Protection Officers.
Part 11 – Enforcement
Inspections and Enforcement Notices
This Part refers to the various powers the EPA holds in relation to inspections and serving enforcement notices.
ISO 14001:2015 Top management Leadership and Commitment
ISO 14001:2015 requires top management to demonstrate leadership and commitment to the environmental management system.
ISO 14001:2015 defines top management as the “person or group of people who directs and controls an organisation at the highest level”. If the scope of the environmental management system is limited to a particular function or section of the organisation, top management are those who direct and control that particular function or section.
The Difference between Management and Leadership
The terms manager and leader are often used synonymously, but are in fact different. Top management must employ effective management skills and display leadership qualities to inspire employees and ensure the environmental management system is effectively implemented and maintained.
Have a long term vision and a clear focus for the business;
Have the ability to inspire others within the organisation;
Empower others to develop their leadership skills;
Influence others to achieve;
Show respect to others
The focus of management includes:
Being systematic, organised and efficient;
Managing the activities of the organisation;
Implementation of policies and procedures;
How Top Management Demonstrate Leadership and Commitment
Top management attends and leads environmental committee meetings;
Top management demonstrates an understanding of how the environmental policy was formulated;
Encourages continual improvement and ensures this culture exists as a result of leadership
Personally publishes articles relating to environmental performance and environmental management and emails these internally within the organisation.
Involvement in internal audits
Allocating adequate budgets for environmental initiatives and training.
Assigning and Communicating Environmental Responsibilities
Environmental roles and responsibilities must be assigned and communicated by top management. Each employee must be made aware of their environmental responsibilities and top management themselves must understand their own environmental responsibilities.
Examples of environmental responsibilities:
Providing overall direction for the environmental management system;
Monitoring environmental management system performance;
Identifying training needs and keeping training records;
Identifying customer requirements;
Identifying compliance obligations
Responsibilities can be communicated in different ways, commonly by inclusion in job descriptions, procedures and within the environmental manual.
This is the fifth in a series of blogs, in which we will describe what is required by an organisation so that it may meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015. We will look at clause 5 Leadership.
Clause 5: Leadership
This clause provides guidance on how the organisation demonstrates leadership and commitment in relation to the environmental management system in its development, implementation and improvement.
This clause encompasses the following:
Demonstrating leadership and commitment;
Developing an environmental policy;
Outlining roles, responsibilities and authorities for the environmental management system
Clause 5.1: Leadership and Commitment
Leadership, commitment and active support from top management are critical for the success of your environmental management system and for the achievement of its intended outcomes.
Top management establishes an organisation’s mission, vision and values, considering its context, the needs and expectations of its relevant interested parties, and business objectives. These are reflected in its strategic business plans. Top management’s leadership and commitment are vital for the successful implementation of an effective environmental management system. As such, top management must take responsibility for the effectiveness of the organisation’s environmental management system and ensure its intended outcomes are achieved.
If employees observe top management taking environmental responsibility seriously this will greatly assist in the establishment of a positive environmental culture throughout the organisation.
Leadership and commitment can be shown by:
Aligning the environmental management system with the organisation’s business objectives;
Ensuring the necessary resources are available;
Encouraging employees and other relevant interested parties to become actively involved in improving environmental performance;
Involving everyone in environmental decisions that affects them;
Promoting open discussion about environmental matters.
The organisation can improve the environmental culture, by:
Providing clear and consistent leadership;
Promoting formal and informal involvement of employees;
Top management should communicate the importance of effective environmental management and conformance to environmental management system requirements by direct involvement or through delegation of authority, as appropriate. This communication can be formal or informal.
Top management should support others in the organisation in relevant managerial roles so that they in turn can demonstrate leadership in their own area of responsibility. Through this means, top management’s leadership and commitment cascades down through the organisation. By demonstrating leadership and commitment, top management can direct and support employees of the organisation and others doing work on its behalf to achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system.
The organisation is in a better position to achieve its environmental objectives and to identify opportunities for improvement when top management creates a culture that encourages people at all levels to actively participate in the environmental management system.
Clause 5.1 Leadership and Commitment – Quick Check
Has top management for the scope of the environmental management system been identified?
Have you identified relevant external environmental conditions?
Has top management ensured that the environmental policy is established?
Has top management ensured that the environmental policy is compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organisation?
Has top management ensured that environmental objectives have been established?
Has top management ensured that the environmental objectives are compatible with the strategic direction and context of the organisation?
Has top management ensured that adequate resources are provided for the environmental management system?
Does top management ensure that environmental management system requirements are integrated into the organisation’s business processes?
Does top management promote continual improvement?
Does top management support managers to enable them to demonstrate leadership in their roles?
Does top management others within the organisation to contribute to the effectiveness of the environmental management system?
Does top management ensure the environmental management system achieves its intended outcomes?
ISO 14001:2015, Clause 4.4: Environmental Management System, requires that an organisation establishes implements, maintains and continually improve its environmental management system, including the processes needed and their interactions.
The concept of a process approach may be one that is new to you. A process can be thought of as an activity that receives inputs and converts them into outputs. It can be applied to any organisation or management system. Inputs and outputs can be tangible, such as materials, components or equipment, or intangible, such as data, information or knowledge. Often, the output from one process will directly form the input into the next process. For an organisation to function effectively it must identify and manage interlinked processes. This systematic identification and management of the processes used within the organisation is a ‘process approach’.
ISO 14001:2015 and the Process Approach: Is a procedure the same as a process?
A procedure and a process is not the same, neither is a procedure just a documented process, since a procedure generally only documents the activities to be carried out, not the resources and behaviours required and the methods of managing the process – this is the role of the process description.
A procedure is a particular way of achieving something. It is a series of steps in a regular definite order, and is an established way of doing something.
Processes are cross-functional and define what is done and by whom. Processes are often depicted as a diagram e.g. as a decision tree or flowchart, where the work performed is split into logical interrelated steps or “activities”.
The inputs for an ISO 14001:2015 management system include internal and external issues identified under clause 4.1 and the needs expectations of interested parties under clause 4.2.
The overall aim of the environmental management system is to protection of the environment. The “intended outcomes” of the environmental management system can be considered to be the outputs. Outputs include, but are not limited to: meeting compliance obligations; continual improvement of the environmental management system; advancing integration of the environmental management system with other business processes; satisfying interested parties and meeting environmental objectives.
This is the fourth in a series of blogs, in which we will describe what is required by an organization so that it may meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015. We will look at clause 4.4: Environmental Management System.
Clause 4.4: Environmental Management System
Clause 4.4 requires the organization to establish, implement, maintain and continually improve its environmental management system, including the processes needed and their interactions.
The environmental management system should reflect the context of the organization, be proportionate to its size and complexity and be properly resourced.
An environmental management system should be viewed as an organizing framework that should be continually monitored and periodically reviewed to provide effective direction for an organization’s responses to changing internal and external issues.
The environmental management system should be aligned and integrated with other business processes to ensure that environmental performance is not compromised in order that other business objectives can be achieved.
The organization should consider the application of a PDCA approach towards its environmental managements system as follows:
Plan – decide what the organization wants to achieve (considering internal and external issues, the needs of interested parties, and risks and opportunities), and put in place the necessary processes and resources.
Do – put the plans into action.
Check – monitor and measure processes and performance against requirements and what you want to achieve.
Act – take actions to deal with nonconformities and to improve environmental performance.
Clause 4.4: Environmental Management System – Quick Check
Did you consider context when establishing the environmental management system?
Have the risks and opportunities for processes identified?
Have you determined the required process inputs and expected outputs?
Have responsibilities and authorities for processes been assigned?
Are environmental requirements aligned and integrated with the organization’s management practices and business processes?
Have plans been established to address the risks and opportunities which require action?
Have processes been established for monitoring, measuring and performance in relation to requirements you want achieve?
Have processes been established to address nonconformities and to improve environmental performance?
This is the third in a series of blogs, in which we will describe what is required by an organization so that it may meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015. We will look at clause 4.3: Determining the scope of the Environmental Management System.
Clause 4.3: Determining the scope of the Environmental Management System
Clause 4.1 requires the organization to understand the internal and external issues that can impact in a positive or negative manner on its environmental performance including organizational culture and structure, and the external environment including cultural, social, political, legal, financial, technological, economic, market competition and natural factors of significance to its performance.
Clause 4.2 requires the organization to identify relevant interested parties, their needs and expectations.
Once the organization has determined and assessed its internal and external and external issues and identified the needs and expectations of relevant interested parties, it should define the physical and organizational boundaries and applicability of the Environmental Management System.
The scope of the Environmental Management System may be the whole organization or specific identified functions or sections of the organization. If the organization makes a statement that it conforms to ISO 14001, it must make the scope of the management system available to ensure it is clear to interested parties which parts of the organization are covered.
The scope of the management system should include everything under the organization’s control or influence that could impact on its environmental performance. The credibility of the organization’s Environmental management system will largely depend on the extent of the defined boundaries. Under no circumstances should the scope be used to exclude activities, products or services that have or could have the potential to impact the organization’s environmental performance or evade its compliance requirements.
An inappropriately narrow or exclusive scope could undermine the credibility of the organization’s environmental management system with its interested parties and reduce its ability to achieve the intended outcomes of the environmental management system.
The scope is a factual statement of the organization’s operations or business processes to be included within its environmental management system boundaries.
Once the scope is defined, the concept of ‘organization’ is limited to what the scope covers, e.g. if the scope of the environmental management system is limited to a particular function or section of the organization, the remainder of the organization is then considered to be an external provider or other interested party.
The organization should maintain the scope of the environmental management system as documented information and make it available to interested parties. The method of maintaining the scope is not prescribed by ISO 14001, therefore the organization will need to determine the most suitable method, e.g. using a written description, inclusion on a site map, an organizational diagram, a webpage, or posting a public statement of its conformity. When documenting its scope, the organization should consider using an approach that identifies the activities or processes involved, the products or services that ensue, and the location(s), where they occur.
Clause 4.3: Determining the scope of the Environmental Management System – Quick Check
Has the scope of the environmental management system been determined?
Did you consider context, compliance obligations and ability to control or influence when establishing the scope?
Are all significant aspects included in the scope?
Is the scope maintained as documented information?
Renewable Energy Sources contribute to climate change mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, achieve sustainable development, protect the environment and improve citizens’ health. Moreover, renewable energy is also emerging as a driver of inclusive economic growth, creating jobs and reinforcing energy security across Europe. The current 2020 framework sets an EU 20% target for energy consumption, which relies on legally binding national targets until 2020. National Renewable Energy Action Plans and the biennial monitoring provided for by the Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources have been effective in promoting transparency for investors and other economic operators and thereby favoured the rapid deployment increase in the share of renewables from 10.4% in 2007 to 17% in 2015.
Moving forward, the revision of the current renewable energy framework (i.e. Directive 2009/28/EC) is necessary to reflect global change since 2009, increase climate change ambitions and leverage international investment in renewable technologies. Furthermore, the increased use of energy from renewable sources or ‘renewable energy’ constitutes an important part of the package of measures needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comply with the European Union’s commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and with the Union’s 2030 energy and climate framework.
Accordingly, the revised Renewable Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2001 establishes a binding EU target of at least 32% for 2030, with a review for increasing this figure in 2023. This Directive establishes a common framework for the promotion of energy from renewable sources. It also lays down rules on financial support for electricity from renewable sources, on self-consumption of such electricity, on the use of energy from renewable sources in the heating and cooling sector and in the transport sector, on regional cooperation between Member States, and between Member States and third countries, on guarantees of origin, on administrative procedures and on information and training. It also establishes sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions saving criteria for biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels.
As per Article 3 of the Directive, Member States are required to set national contributions to meet the binding target as part of their integrated national energy and climate plans. From 1 January 2021, the share of energy from renewable sources in each Member State’s gross final consumption of energy shall not be lower than the baseline share shown in the table below. Member States are required to take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with that baseline share.
NATIONAL OVERALL TARGETS FOR THE SHARE OF ENERGY FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES IN GROSS FINAL CONSUMPTION OF ENERGY IN 2020
Share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy, 2005
Target for share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy, 2020
The Directive is supported by the European Commission through an enabling framework comprising the enhanced use of Union funds, especially for the following purposes:
reducing the cost of capital for renewable energy projects;
developing projects and programmes for integrating renewable sources into the energy system, for increasing flexibility of the energy system, for maintaining grid stability and for managing grid congestions;
developing transmission and distribution grid infrastructure, intelligent networks, storage facilities and interconnections, with the objective of arriving at a 15% electricity interconnection target by 2030, in order to increase the technically feasible and economically affordable level of renewable energy in the electricity system;
enhancing regional cooperation between Member States and between Member States and third countries, through joint projects, joint support schemes and the opening of support schemes for renewable electricity to producers located in other Member States.
The Renewable Energy Directive (EU) 2018/2001 was published by the European Parliament on the 11th of December 2018. Member States are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 30 June 2021. Directive 2009/28/EC is repealed with effect from 1 July 2021. A solution such as the Pegasus Legal Register can keep you abreast of key regulatory changes at both a national and European level.
This is the second in a series of blogs, in which we will describe what is required by an organization so that it may meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2015.
In this blog we will continue to look at Clause 4: Context of the organization, focussing on Clause 4.2: Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties.
Clause 4.2: Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
Previously we covered Clause 4.1 Understanding the organization and its context. We discussed the requirement for the organization to understand the internal and external issues that can impact in a positive or negative manner on its environmental performance. Such issues include organizational culture and structure, and the external environment including cultural, social, political, legal, financial, technological, economic, market competition and natural factors of significance to its performance.
Consideration of the above will facilitate the identification of interested parties and their needs and expectations. If interested parties and their requirements are not identified there is a danger of falling short of their expectations.
ISO 14001 defines an interested party as “a person or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by a decision or activity”.
ISO 14001 requires the organization to determine:
The interested parties relevant to the environmental management system
The relevant needs and expectations or requirements of interested parties
Which or these needs and expectations are or could become compliance requirements
A variety of means may be used to identify interested parties, which include:
Noting who has expressed an interest in your operations
Structured brainstorming workshops
Using interviews and questionnaires
Asking employees, including managers and public relations personnel
Asking executives and heads of departments who is important to your business
Asking the question “who are we required to provide information to because of a law, regulation, permit or licence?”
Interested parties may include:
Employees and Employee Families
Regulatory authorities such as Local Authorities, EPA, SEPA and the Environment Agency
Owners, Shareholders and Parent Company
Suppliers, Contractors and Subcontractors
Investors and Bankers
Local Community and Neighbours of the Organization
The General Public
The Emergency Services
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth
Professional bodies for Environmental Practitioners such as IEMA
Environmental Management Professionals
Some needs and expectations are mandatory because they have been incorporated into laws and regulations. The organization may also subscribe to voluntary initiatives or adopt the requirements of interested parties. Once the organization adopts these needs and expectation, it must ensure that they are addressed when planning and establishing the Environmental Management System.
The organization should take the time to understand the relevant interested parties’ needs and expectations and determine those relevant to the Environmental Management System, which should be addressed.
Clause 4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties – Quick Check
Have you identified relevant interested parties?
Have you determined the relevant needs and expectations of interested parties?
Have you determined which relevant needs and expectations are compliance obligations?
Does the organization have an adequate appreciation of the needs and expectations of interested parties?