Sunday, June 19, 2011

Operational Control In ISO 14001 Standards

Operational Controls over Significant Environmental Aspect Activities, ?4.4.6.a&b – ISO 14001 requires the organization to identify and plan the operations associated with its identified significant environmental aspects in order to establish documented operational control procedures that preclude deviation from the Environmental Policy or not achieving objectives and targets.
Opportunities to apply operational controls can be found by reviewing operations. As shown in the accompanying text box, once the operations that can produce significant impacts are identified, it is a relatively simple step to establish operational control procedures that are consistent with the aims of the Environmental Policy and the objectives and targets and that stipulate operating criteria.
Significant Environmental Aspects of Goods and Services, §4.4.6.c – This requirement of ISO 14001requires careful reading. Here is a parsed interpretation of the Operational Control requirement as it relates to goods and services furnished by others:
“The organization shall identify those operations that are associated with [its] identified significant environmental aspects… The organization shall plan these operations in order to ensure that they are carried out under specified conditions by… [1] establishing and maintaining procedures related to the identifiable significant environmental aspects of goods and services used by the organization and [2] communicating relevant procedures and requirements to suppliers and contractors.”
An easy way to conform to this requirement is to:
1. Identify the operations associated with the significant environmental aspects;
2. Identify the environmental aspects of goods and services furnished by others;
3. Determine how these aspects contribute to the organization’s significant aspect operations;
4. Establish appropriate/relevant requirements for the providers of these services; and
5. Communicate the requirements to suppliers and contractors.
Confusion in conforming to this requirement can arise because it is easy to read sub-clause c) independently of the first sentence of §4.4.6.
This first sentence gives context to the rest of the section in that it requires that we first “identify those operations… associated with the identified significant environmental aspects.” Once we have identified these operations, we look to the significant aspects of goods and services supplied by others and assess their contribution to the potential environmental impact. The accompanying example is offered to help clarify the intent of the requirement.


  1. ISO 27001 Training - ISO 14000 joins ISO 9000 as the second family of process standards developed by ISO. Adoption of ISO 9000 has skyrocketed. When comparing the two series of process standards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared, "ISO's 14000-series Environmental Management Standards are expected to have a significant impact on trade in the same way that ISO 9000-series Quality Management standards have." This is reflected in a poll commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet, revealing already a third of all organizations currently certified under ISO 9000 also intend to seek ISO 14000 Certification.