External and internal audits are essential parts of ISO 14001. Both of them are mandatory for earning the ISO 14001 certification.
Performing them following the internal audit criteria in ISO 14001 can help check the effectiveness of your implementation process, evaluate compliance, and point out improvement opportunities.
But do you know what to check during the internal audit? If your response is no, then this blog is for you!
To help you get the most out of your internal audits, today’s blog presents a thorough checklist for assessing your compliance through clauses 4 to 6.
This checklist of questionnaires will allow you to take a deep dive into your environmental management system to gather critical facts.
So, let’s get started!
A Checklist To Meet The Internal Audit Criteria Of ISO 14001
The requirements clauses of ISO 14001 span from clauses 4 to 10. Your internal audit criteria shall depend on the requirements of these clauses.
Here’s an internal audit checklist to plan and meet the audit criteria of ISO 14001 for the requirements through clauses 4 to 6.
4.1 Understanding the organization and its context
• Has your organization determined the external and internal issues relevant to your purpose? Do the issues affect your organization’s ability to achieve the intended EMS outcome?
• How does your organization monitor and review the internal and external issues?
4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
• Has your organization determined the interested parties relevant to its environment management system?
• Has your organization determined the requirements of those interested parties relevant to the EMS?
• Has your organization determined which of these needs fall under compliance obligation as per audit criteria in ISO 14001?
4.3 Determining the scope of your EMS
• Has your organization established the applicability and boundary of the EMS for its scope?
• Have you considered compliance obligations and external and internal issues when deciding the EMS scope?
• Have you considered the organizational units, physical boundaries, functions, activities, products, services, authority, and ability to exercise control when determining the scope?
• Have you included all activities, products, and services in the scope?
• Are you maintaining documented information on the scope?
• Have you made the scope available to interested parties?
4.4 Environment management system
• Has your company established and implemented the EMS as per the audit criteria in ISO 14001?
• Do you have the system to continually improve and maintain the EMS, including various processes and their interactions?
• Have you considered the requirements of clauses 4.1 and 4.2 when establishing and maintaining the EMS?
5.1 Leadership and Commitment
• Does your top management take accountability for the effectiveness of the EMS, demonstrating commitment and leadership?
• Has your top management ensured the establishment of EMS policy and objectives?
• Are the EMS policy and objectives compatible with the organization’s context and strategic direction?
• Have you integrated the EMS requirements into business processes?
• Has your top management ensured the availability of resources for the EMS?
• Have you communicated the importance of the EMS conformance and effectiveness?
• Does your top management ensure the EMS archives its intended goals according to the audit criteria in ISO 14001?
• Do they direct and support stakeholders to contribute to the EMS?
• Does top management promote continual improvement?
• Does top management support relevant management roles?
• Has your top management established an environmental policy appropriate to the context and purpose of the organization?
• Does the policy provide a framework for setting the objectives?
• Does the policy include an affirmation to protect the environment?
• Does the policy contain a commitment to meet compliance obligations and make continual improvements?
• Are you communicating the environmental policy, maintaining it as documented information, and making it available to interested parties?
5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities, and authorities
• Have you assigned the authorities and responsibilities of relevant roles as mentioned in the audit criteria in ISO 14001?
• Have you communicated the roles within your company?
• Has your top management assigned roles and responsibilities for ensuring ISO 14001 EMS compliance and reporting on the performance of the EMS?
6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities
• Has your organization considered all the requirements of clause 4 when planning the EMS?
• Has your organization considered reducing or preventing undesired effects impacting the EMS?
• Has your organization considered emergencies impacting the environment and included them in the EMS scope?
• Has your organization established documented information on its risks, opportunities, and processes to address them?
6.1.2 Environmental aspects
• Has your organization determined its environmental aspects as guided by audit criteria in ISO 14001?
• Have you considered new or modified activities, products, or services when determining environmental aspects?
• Have you considered emergency and abnormal conditions when determining the aspects?
• What criteria have you used to determine the aspects? Have you communicated the aspects across the organization?
• Are you maintaining documented information on the aspects and impacts?
6.1.3 Compliance obligation
• Has your organization determined the compliance obligations related to the environmental aspects and how they apply to the company?
• Have you considered the obligation when implementing the EMS?
• Are you maintaining the obligation as documented information?
6.1.4 Planning action
• Have you addressed the environmental aspects, compliance obligations, risks, and opportunities?
• How do you plan to integrate the actions into the EMS and business processes?
• How do you plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the action as required in audit criteria in ISO 14001?
6.2.1 Environmental objectives
• Have you established the environmental objectives, considering compliance obligations, aspects, risks, and opportunities?
• Are the objectives consistent with the environmental policy?
• Are the objectives measurable and monitored?
• Have you communicated and updated the objectives as needed?
• Are you maintaining documented information on the objectives?
6.2.2 Planning actions to reach the environmental objectives
• How does your organization plan to achieve its environmental objectives?
• Do you have sufficient resources to achieve the goals?
• Who will be responsible for this task?
• Have you set a timeline for achieving the objectives?
• How do you plan to evaluate the results?
The audit criteria in ISO 14001 are quite extensive. However, you can tailor the requirements depending on the services and products of your organization. Hopefully, this questionnaire will help you evaluate parts of the EMS. For the checklist on the rest of the clauses, keep an eye on this space!