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ISO 14001: Management Review

March 4, 2014 - Kestrel Management

When developing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS), the ISO 14001 standard repeatedly refers to top management as having numerous responsibilities to assure the program’s success. One area that the standard highlights for top management attention is called Management Review.

Assuring Ongoing Effectiveness

The Management Review requirement states that top management shall review the organization’s EMS on a regular basis. The Review assures the ongoing suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the EMS. This Review also assesses opportunities for improvement and the need to change or update the EMS to help the organization meet all environmental legal requirements.

Review Process

The Management Review process requires that necessary information is collected (see monitoring and measurement requirements) so management can carry out this evaluation appropriately. The Review must be documented in terms of what topics are discussed, what decisions are made, and who within organization is responsible for completing assigned tasks.

Management Reviews must address possible changes to the environmental policy, status of goals and objectives for the year, and any other element within the EMS to assure continuous improvement and environmental legal compliance.

Topics covered in a Management Review include the following:

  • Internal audits and results
  • Status of corrective and preventive actions
  • Training requirements
  • Follow-up from previous Management Reviews implementation requirements
  • New environmental rules or regulations and their impact on the organization
  • Changing environmental circumstances that may affect the organization (positive & negative)
  • Management recommendations for improvement
  • Review of any Notice of Violations (NOVs) from state
  • Any impacts to the compliance and risk prevention objectives of the company environmental policy and program

The Management Review process ensures the participation and understanding of management in determining the integrity and effectiveness of the program.

Continual Improvement

A key goal of the meeting is to achieve the support and understanding of enhancements necessary to meet the determined needs of the company. By having top management review the EMS on a regular basis and determine changing needs, the entire management system will be constantly improving:

  • By reviewing suitability, the organization assures that it is meeting all standard requirements.
  • By reviewing adequacy, the organization assures that it is meeting all internal business requirements.
  • By reviewing effectiveness, the organization assures that employees with “boots on the ground” understand and follow all environmental requirements documented in organizational procedures, work instructions, and checklists.

This is key to improving the environmental stewardship for an organization. An organization can have the best of intentions, but without an objective look at itself on a regular basis, it will not find out its deficiencies until after an incident. The Management Review is crucial to ensure the compliance and effectiveness of the program. Because once an incident occurs, it is too late.

Submitted by: Randy Block

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