If your Corporation has an EMS (Environmental Management System) that is certified accordance to the ISO 14001 Certification in South Africa standard, you will be aware that there are a number of key roles and responsibilities that need to be allocated and fulfilled successfully in both the setting up and the operation of the EMS. These roles and responsibilities will reflect different levels of leadership, internal company status, capability, and involvement in the day-to-day running of the Environmental Management System and in some cases, there may even be responsibilities of reporting to media or government, depending on the scope, size, and area of your organization. So, given this wide range of roles, what exactly does the standard say and how can these best be summarized and condensed in a way that easily explains what options an organization may have when assigning these responsibilities?
Roles and responsibilities – What does the ISO 14001:2015 in South Africa standard say?
The ISO 14001 in Philippines standards deals with Company roles, responsibilities, and authorities and suggests that top management is responsible for ensuring that these are assigned and communicated inside the Company. It is explained that top management retains the responsibility for ensuring the EMS conforms to the standard itself, and that responsibility is assign for reporting results to the top management team. This sounds reasonably straightforward, but as suggest above there may be huge variations on the responsibilities require within an EMS depending on the scope, size, and area the organization operates in. So, with this being the case, are there any tips or practical applications we can have a look at to ensure that the company satisfies this vital clause thoroughly and successfully?
Practical examples of roles and responsibilities in the EMS
Ensure that the EMS meets the requirements of the standard: This can be done by one nominate employee with the correct qualification and knowledge level, and whatever the size of your Company, this task may be better to rest with one or two key employees to avoid confusion. Ensure legislation is up to date is better to be handled by one competent person than multiple employees, for example.
Report on the performance of the EMS to top management: This is another key responsibility that may be best left to one competent employee, but in reality, should be the responsibility of several competent employees, and may be less work if you have set up the agreed key performance indicators accurately and correctly.
Day-to-day running of the EMS: This is a role that may vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your organization, and it will need serious consideration. A large business may need a larger number of competent and trained employees to deal with the EMS functions, as we looked at in the article: ISO 14001 Competence, Training and Awareness: Why are they important for your EMS? Again, it may be possible to have one competent person overseeing this in a small business, but you must ensure that your employees are informed, trained, competent, and communicated to – all in terms of the EMS objectives, initiatives, and results.
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