Commitment to Comply - ISO 14001 Clause 4.2 - Environmental Policy

B

brentbackus

#1
Situation: A company is in its 4th year of an ISO 14001 certificate. During a tour it was observed that the facility was having unauthorized release of a liquid to the storm drain which empties on the site property. It was noted that another storm drain appeared to have another type of a liquid coming out of it and it also drained on-site. The sites storm drain system is old. The site does have a storm water pollution plan as part of their NPDES permit. Site staff knows that there are and have been unauthorized releases in the past. The site does have a management program that has not really addressed this issue successfully.The 2011 compliance audit did pick up that storm water was an issue but the 2009 compliance audit did not.

It was decided to issue a major nonconformance to the ISO 14001, 4.2 Environmental Policy, Commitment to Comply because the plant has operated with unauthorized releases over the 4 year history of their ISO 14001 program. Other elements feeding into the not committing to comply include, legal and other, management programs compliance auditing, communication, resources and roles and operational control. Thus, the major was based on the most restrictive clause, 4.2 Environmental Policy, Commitment to Comply.
Thoughts? Correct call? Thank you.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Elsmar Forum Sponsor

Randy

Super Moderator
#2
Re: Commitment to Comply, 4.2 Env. Policy

Possibly a good call

They promised to comply and apparently they are not utilizing system processes to help them do so.

Having a leak is one thing, but not acting upon that knowledge is something else entirely....From a regulators standpoint "Knowingly wilfull and neglegent" comes to mind (onsite or offsite may not matter)

EXCEPT......Have they discussed this at the Management Review and initiated anything positive?

Is there any evidence of the CA/PA process being implemented?

Is the discharge prevented from going offiste by being taken care of internally with an approved or permitted water treatment operation?

This kind of thing could go either way
 
B

brentbackus

#3
Re: Commitment to Comply, 4.2 Env. Policy

I would agree on willful neglect and they would not. No CA/PA issued. Storm water is not treated. They have initated a storm water management program but to no avail in reducing unauthorized discharges.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#4
I agree the findings you have described are very troubling. And Randy is right to ask if system-based activities have taken place. In my years of observation Randy will steer you right. :agree1:

As an auditor I would be interested to review the present "storm water pollution plan as part of their NPDES permit", plus designed processes to abate the defined aspects, then data captured during evaluation and response to those defined controls and failure to adhere to the controls - when, how and what happened then.

To determine commitment I would need to understand which level the commitment was missing, and the specifics. Was it in resources at management level? Was it in a gap between responsibility and authority? Was it the organization's failure to support addressing nonconformances? We have to keep in mind that as auditors we need to use objective evidence to declare any of these are the true issue. That's what makes commitment so easy for auditors to determine and so difficult to objectively write up.
 

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
I will start by saying that I am still pretty new at environmental auditing (been involved in quality for over 20 years) so this kind of question helps me.

Just out of interest, what is the CB/Registrar's definition of a major and minor N/C?

I ask because to many, a major is defined as the absence, or total breakdown of a required system. I wonder, if this is the only evidence that they have failed to comply with their environmental policy, if there is sufficient evidence to grade it as major?

I am not questioning the validity of the N/C (it sounds like 1 to me) but I also wonder if the policy is the best clause to use. Have they conducted adequate monitoring and measuring? Did they have sufficient operational controls in place? You mention that they have a management programme so presumably they also have objectives and targets?
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#6
Just out of interest, what is the CB/Registrar's definition of a major and minor N/C?

I ask because to many, a major is defined as the absence, or total breakdown of a required system. I wonder, if this is the only evidence that they have failed to comply with their environmental policy, if there is sufficient evidence to grade it as major?

I am not questioning the validity of the N/C (it sounds like 1 to me) but I also wonder if the policy is the best clause to use. Have they conducted adequate monitoring and measuring? Did they have sufficient operational controls in place? You mention that they have a management programme so presumably they also have objectives and targets?
I can't directly vouch for definitions from CB auditors, but I can point to Green profits: the manager's handbook for ISO 14001 and pollution prevention.
 

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
Thanks Jennifer, it looks like a good document. As we know, different organisations take a different view on the grading process. My concern is that if someone chooses to grade a finding as a major, they fail and I don't like the thought of a company failing an audit based on someone's perception rather than hard evidence.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
B Quality Policy does not include a commitment to comply with legal requirements Quality Management System (QMS) Manuals 5
Marc 5.1 Management Commitment - How do you comply and what proof do you have? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 1
qualprod Addressing poor commitment in people Misc. Quality Assurance and Business Systems Related Topics 23
K APQP Phase 3 - Team Feasibility Commitment APQP and PPAP 3
M Informational US FDA – FDA provides updates on the agency’s continued commitment to evaluating postmarket safety of Essure device Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 0
M Medical Device News FDA news - 17-09-18 - Agency's commitment to studying breast implant safety Other US Medical Device Regulations 0
M ISO 13485:2016 Cl. 5.1 - Management commitment verbiage change ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 2
K ISO 9001:2015 Leadership and Commitment ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 5
M Management Commitment signature issue in same Quality Manual Quality Management System (QMS) Manuals 8
P Evidence of Management Commitment to HACCP Food Safety - ISO 22000, HACCP (21 CFR 120) 3
H Quality Level Commitment Letter - What is it and any samples? Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 2
F Management Involvement / Commitment - CEO involvement in the certification process ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 36
O Audit Frequency and Management Commitment questions ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 8
A How do you obtain real Management Commitment Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 18
L Contacting Suppliers to demonstrate Environmental Commitment ISO 14001:2015 Specific Discussions 3
D Contract (Commitment) between Project Team and Production IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 13
J Top Management Commitment Works Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 7
S Extent of Site manager (SM) Commitment - Upper Management issues Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 8
V Team feasibility commitment : meaning of efficient material handling techniques ? APQP and PPAP 1
D Supplier commitment acceptance of orders verified and managed - Meaning AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 5
9 Another Touch on Management Commitment - Open Corrective Actions Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 6
A Can the Process Approach be used to audit Management Commitment and how? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 31
N Lack of Management Commitment? Surveillance audit is next month General Auditing Discussions 6
S Lack of Management Commitment and Cooperation in Implementation of QMS! Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 36
T OHSAS 18001 - Demonstrating and Auditing Management Commitment. Occupational Health & Safety Management Standards 9
S Management Commitment - Changing the Mindset of Resistant Upper Management Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 6
Q Statement of Continual Quality Commitment - Seeking Assistance Philosophy, Gurus, Innovation and Evolution 7
S Commitment and Compliance with Legal & Regulatory Requirements Miscellaneous Environmental Standards and EMS Related Discussions 2
S Trainees backing out when it comes to delivery - fair to ask for commitment letter? Training - Internal, External, Online and Distance Learning 38
A Is Top Management Approval Process under Management Commitment ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 10
T How to measure Upper Management Commitment Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 7
G When do you need to fill Team Feasibility Commitment? APQP and PPAP 14
R A process for quality policy/management commitment & customer focus? Document Control Systems, Procedures, Forms and Templates 2
B Management Commitment and Internal Communication ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 10
B How to demonstrate management commitment? Audit Failure Mode ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 4
A Service commitment - Has anyone here already worked with this approach? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 1
G Documented commitment to paragraphs of the standard Quality Management System (QMS) Manuals 10
A Traduccion del "Team Feasibility Commitment" a espa?ol?nish? APQP and PPAP 5
G Management commitment - Lipservice - Delegation Other ISO and International Standards and European Regulations 21
G Management Commitment - The owner of our company does not allow me to implement Other ISO and International Standards and European Regulations 36
M Top Management Commitment - The Tyco Investigation Misc. Quality Assurance and Business Systems Related Topics 7
D Gaining Key Stakeholder Commitment Misc. Quality Assurance and Business Systems Related Topics 1
T Non API products need to comply to API Q1? Oil and Gas Industry Standards and Regulations 3
F Labelling to comply with both FDA and MDR US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 6
J WAIVED ON Q1 - We Don't have to comply with FORDS customer specific requirements IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 3
M FULFILMENT of compliance obligation versus COMPLY with compliance obligations ISO 14001:2015 Specific Discussions 2
L Proof of Concept Studies - Do we need to comply with SAE reporting? Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 3
M MDR, RED and LVD - Should our device comply with them? EU Medical Device Regulations 3
R MDR standards - which standards to comply with ? EU Medical Device Regulations 3
M Informational Some things the EU MDR 2017/745 does not tell you, but you may need to know to comply with it effectively – Part 1 Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 0

Similar threads

Top Bottom