Links between EMS management systems and other systems

When developing and putting EMS management systems in place it is important to understand that it is not a separate or stand alone system.

links with ems management systems

When developing and putting EMS management systems in place it is important to understand that it is not a separate or stand alone system.

ISO 14001 definition:

One definition for ISO 14001 EMS management systems is they are ‘part of a business’ management system that is used to develop and implement its environmental policy and manage its environmental aspects’.

 

EMS management systems integration:

 

The implication with that definition is that some elements that are required by EMS management systems will be found in different parts of the existing management system.  It is important when integrating management systems that they can be differentiated.

These systems can be:

  • Quality management
  • Health and safety
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Purchasing
  • Finance
  • Process control (production)

 

Quality Management:

The key question that should be asked is:

‘What existing practise, procedure or process contributes towards environmental performance.’?

Implementing EMS management systems may be a question of extending the range and purpose of existing quality management procedures.  Also working efficiently to a specification will mean achieving quality targets or standards but also reduce loss and wastage (environmental issues).

Any system based on a management system such as ISO 1900 (quality management standard) and ISO 14000 will have similar structure elements.  They can be developed and implemented to meet a number of different goals.

These common elements can be regarded as generic and have limited or no direct influence over performance.  They would include procedures for:

  • Document control
  • Record-keeping
  • Internal audit
  • Management review
  • Training management
  • Definition of business responsibilities
  • Preventative action

Health and safety:

EMS management systems and health and safety (H&S) are both concerned with human health issues.

For example, any substance that could harm an employee is also a risk for the local community if they are emitted or spilled beyond the business site.  It is easy to see how these two systems can overlap.

The links between EMS management systems and H&S are usually risk management and emergency response.

Preventative maintenance:

Efficient production processes are more resource efficient.  There is a strong link between this resource efficiency and environmental performance.

Planned preventative maintenance can be applied to areas that have significant environmental impacts.  These are usually product related areas such as production processes.  Other areas could include:

  • Boilers
  • Effluent treatment
  • Engineering research and laboratories
  • Waste and materials storage
  • Drainage
  • Emergency response equipment

Purchasing:

More businesses are evaluating existing and prospective suppliers for their environmental management.  These evaluations are integrated into purchasing practises.

Finance:

Finance usually includes practises and procedures for budgeting.  Environmental aspects need to be considered for changes to activities, products and services.

Production:

Most production systems use process control, and the monitoring of the productivity of resources.  Some key indicators are material usage, loss and energy consumption.  These are also indicators of elements of environmental performance.

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