A study of the methodologies used by organisations in determining their significant impacts in the context of ISO 14001, clause 4.3.1
Hadfield, Richard H. I.
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This paper examines the methodologies used in the review of environmental aspects and the identification of significant impacts in the context of ISO 14001, Clause 4.3.1. The sources used are both published works and examples from organisations that have implemented ISO 14001. An outline methodology is proposed with guidance on implementation. The final method of implementation is left to the organisation since each must select a way that meets the demands and complexities of their business. The guidance does cover the essentials that a registrar would need to witness before an organisation is registered to ISO 14001. The steps advocated are: 1. Data gathering (using checklists and other records) a) Scoping b) Detailed data collection 2. Analysis (using scoring systems, eFMEA or thresholds) 3. Assignment of ‘ significance’ The paper recommends that ‘significance’ be assigned based on three criteria: 1. Legal or regulatory requirement (ISO 14001 Clause 4.3.2) 2. Severity of actual or potential environmental effect 3. Management issues (training, incidents, handling, stakeholder opinions etc.) An impact that is significant because of its ‘legal’, ‘severity’ or ‘management’ status must have operating procedures associated with the aspect (Clause 4.4.6). All significant impacts should be used as an input to the process of continuous improvement (objectives and targets). The permutation of ‘severity’ and ‘management’ criteria may have value in assigning priority to improvement projects.
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