ISO 14001 – Clause 5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities

Environment, ISO Standards

In this blog we will continue to look at what an implementing company must do in order to meet the requirement of ISO 14001:2015. This blog will focus on clause 5.3: Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities.

Clause 5.3: Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities

Top management should ensure that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles within the environmental management system are assigned and communicated at all levels within the organization and maintained as documented information.

Top management is ultimately responsible for the environmental management system, even if the day-to-day decisions related to environmental performance are delegated to others. What is delegated and to whom, should be clearly and unambiguously communicated so that everyone understands who is responsible for what.

Top management should assign the responsibility and authority for:

  • Ensuring that the environmental management system conforms to the requirements of ISO 14001;
  • Reporting on the performance of the environmental management system to top management.

Since resources can be limited, opportunities should be sought out to integrate environmental responsibilities within existing functions of the organization. If other management systems are already in place, such as OH&S, quality or energy, synergies may exist where there are similar roles and responsibilities. This will enhance ownership of environmental management across the organization and potentially create efficiencies.

ISO 14001 requires that the responsibilities and authority of all persons who perform duties that are part of the environmental management system be documented. These can be described and included in:

  • Environmental management system procedures;
  • Operational procedures and process maps;
  • Project and/or task descriptions;
  • Job descriptions;
  • Induction training packages.

Such documentation can, among others, be required for the following personnel:

  • Management at all levels in the organization, including top management;
  • Environmental committees/environmental teams;
  • Process operators and the general workforce;
  • Those managing contractors;
  • Those responsible for environmental training;
  • Those responsible for equipment operation and maintenance;
  • Those responsible for facilities management;
  • Employees with environmental qualifications  or other Environmental specialists within the organization;

Care should be taken with the clarification of responsibilities at the interfaces between different functions (e.g. between departments, between different levels of management, between employees, between the organization and contractors and between the organization and its neighbours).

Clause 5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities  – Quick Check

  • Has responsibility and authority been assigned for ensuring the EMS conforms to the ISO 14001:2015 standard?
  • Does the person(s) responsible for ensuring the EMS conforms to the ISO 14001:2015 standard know and understand their role, responsibilities and authorities?
  • How was responsibility and authority for the role communicated to them?
  • Has responsibility and authority been assigned for reporting the performance of the EMS to top management?
  • Does the person(s) responsible for reporting the performance of the EMS to top management know and understand their role, responsibilities and authorities?
  • How was responsibility and authority for the role communicated to them?
Tags
Environmental management system , ISO 14001 , ISO Implementation , management involvement
Related Posts
ISO 14001 – Clause 6.1.2 Environmental Aspects ISO 14001 – Clause 6.1.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities ISO 14001 – Assigning Responsibility and Authority ISO 14001 – What is an environmental policy? ISO 14001 – Clause 5.2: Environmental Policy ISO 14001 – Clause 5.1: Leadership & Commitment ISO 14001:2015 and the Process Approach ISO 14001 – Clause 4.4: Environmental Management System ISO 14001 – Clause 4.3: Determining the scope of the Environmental Management System ISO 14001-Clause 4.2: Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
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