Key elements of an ems
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Key Elements of an EMS. 17 key elements of an EMS Follows ISO 14001 standard Aligned with ISO 9001 Page 15 in manual. Part 1. Planning. Element #1: write an environmental policy. Top management must define the organization’s environmental policy: Environmental regulations

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Key Elements of an EMS

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Key Elements of an EMS

  • 17 key elements of an EMS

  • Follows ISO 14001 standard

  • Aligned with ISO 9001

  • Page 15 in manual

Part 1


Element #1: write an environmental policy

Top management must define the organization’s environmentalpolicy:

  • Environmental regulations

  • Continual improvement

  • Pollution prevention (P2)

  • Appropriate to the organization

  • Provides framework

  • Documented and communicated to all employees

  • Available to the public

Three Pillars of an Environmental Policy

Example of P2 (Source Reduction):

Aspects and impacts definition

Element #2: identify environmental aspects and determine which ones have significant impacts

  • procedures to identify the environmental aspects

  • look beyond activities covered by regulations.

  • take significant aspects into account when setting environmental objectives.

  • identifying significant environmental aspects is one of the most critical steps in EMS implementation

Aspects and impacts example from coal-fired power plant:

Aspect: stack emissions

Impacts: soil, water, air, plants, animals, other (human health, aquatic food chain, global warming.)


  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital – Michigan

    • Mercury in widespread use

    • Professional environmental response company contracted

      • Clean up mercury spills

      • Discard mercury-containing equipment

    • EMS implemented

      • Identified mercury as an environmental aspect

      • Developed Mercury Reduction Initiative – save $20,000/year

Element #3: identify legal requirements (environmental regulations) and other requirements

Your organization must have a procedure to identify and obtain all applicable environmental regulations and requirements that apply to it based on the environmental aspects of its activities, products, or services.

Examples of other requirements are:

  • industry codes of practice

  • agreements with public authorities

  • non-regulatory guidelines

Commonly Applicable Federal Environmental Laws in the U.S.

  • Clean Air Act (CAA)

  • Clean Water Act (CWA)

  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability (CERCLA)

  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)

  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA)

Ways to identify applicable regulations

  • KSU SBEAP (800-578-8898, or

  • regulatory agencies (federal, state and local)

  • trade groups and associations

  • the Internet

  • public libraries

  • seminars and courses

  • newsletters / magazines

  • consultants and attorneys

  • customers, vendors, and other companies

  • commercial services (with updates offered on-line, on CD-ROM or in paper form)

Element #4: establish objectives and targets

Objectives and targets help an organization translate policy into action.

The objectives and targets must reflect:

  • legal and other requirements

  • significant environmental aspects

  • technological options

  • financial, operational, and business requirements

  • views of “interested parties”

Element #5: establish an environmental management program

Your environmental management program must include:

  • assigning responsibility for meeting the objectives and targets

  • methods and time frame

  • allocation of resources

    Environmental management programs must be dynamic and revised as needed to reflect internal and external changes

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