Sunday 9 October 2016

Risk Based Thinking Is Vital For ISO 14001 Certification

The newly revised version of  ISO 14001 (2015 version) relies heavily  on  risk  based thinking.  The focus is more on risk identification and managing risk, rather than  on  corrective- preventive philosophy of the previous version. The risk based approach  requires that environmental  risks be identified  for processes as well as products  and services,  throughout the organization. The same thinking needs to be applied for the processes of external providers. The top management must create awareness of the need for risk based thinking.

Advantages  of the  risk  based approach

This approach provides  for  a proactive,  strategic response   towards all real as well as potential environmental issues. The key advantages  would result  from the focus it provides  towards  identification  of  potential incidents and elimination or the minimization of root causes of  the risks.. This  philosophy  can  have  positive influence  on persons taking decisions regarding processes, products and services,  who will  also take   responsibility  for protecting the  environment.

Compliance to the requirements of the standard along with legal/regulatory requirements  can be ensured with the guidance of experts, such as  ISO 14001 consultants. These  consultants can also  provide training on awareness of risk based approach for the entire organization. They can help the organizations to achieve ISO 14001 certification in a time bound manner.

Risk related clauses to be complied with for  ISO 14001 certification

Following are the important ISO 14001 requirements regarding risk management. Clause 4.1  of  ISO 14001: 2015 highlights need for understanding business environment (context), and  external as well as  internal  issues that impact environmental performance. These concerns could relate to water, air quality, usage of land, legal as well as regulatory aspects, sociopolitical issues, organizations technology, products, services and  processes. The company must plan to minimize or eliminate the undesired consequences of the risks.

Enterprise must  determine risks applicable to its business, related to environment, along with legal compliance requirements. Example could be risk arising due to emissions, natural  flooding, spillages or leaks, contamination as well as  water scarcity.

Clause 5.2  prescribes that policy established, must  include  enterprise’s commitment to pollution control,  environment  protection along with improvement approach.

Clause 6.1  explains  the need for action-plan to effectively address risks to environment. Clause 6.1.2  covers environmental aspects. It involves determination of part of processes and activities that adversely  influence the environment. Aspect can include direct as well as  indirect influence.  impact is the extent the activity adversely  affects the environment. Aspect will also depend on the technology used for the operations.  Clause 6.1.3 explains  voluntary obligation as well as legal/ regulatory compliance requirements.

Clause 6.2.1 stipulates the requirement  for establishing environmental  objectives  based on policy framework already prescribed under  clause 5.2. These objectives must include  time  bound plans, roles and responsibilities and other resources needed. The environmental objectives must be  integrated into  operational  plans well as business   processes. The risk based thinking should percolate to life cycle of the products.

Clause 8.3 prescribes the need for  emergency  response as well as preparedness response. Risk based thinking requires aspect identification as well as classification. Emergency can arise due to negative impact of various aspects. Likelihood of emergency situation needs to be assessed. In a petroleum installation, for instance fire may be an aspect that needs emergency response system. If a certain aspect is considered significant, preparing emergency response plan is a must.

Clause 8.4 requires the risk based monitoring and  measurement of process, products, services of external providers. Clause 9.1.2 covers the stipulation for evaluation of the  EMS  for regulatory  as well as legal compliance.

Thus  we find that Risk based thinking is embedded  in the entire ISO 14001 standard for the environment management system requirements.

No comments:

Post a Comment