Is an Initial Environmental Review a must while implementing ISO 14001

C

cumarr

#1
We are a construction co. implementation 14001. Is it a requirement that I need to present the auditor with an Initial Environmental Report or is it ok, if I have way ie. procedure for identifying the Aspect , Impacts and the Significance of these.

My idea of working on this was to take all the aspects related with the construction activities,their aspects and identifying the impacts and the significant aspects/ impacts from these that we will be addressing in our EMS.

Making an initial environmental report on this doesnt make sensible to me, since, we are site based and we are given approval for working on the site for construction by the client & the Govt. Wouldnt Making an IE report thus, need us to make reports for all the sites?

Can anyone help me on this?
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: Is an Initial Environmental Review a must while implementing 14001

Good day cumarr,

During a certification audit the CB will expect to see the EMS is actively and effectively functioning. So, if a report is the defined output of your Aspects review and controls implementation then yes, a report will be expected at time of audit.

And, especially since your materials used is likely to vary somewhat I would expect such a report for all your contracts, though using the same format and tools to construct it is certainly okay. If you don't have access to a specially designed software package then I would use an Excel tool to collect, calculate and graph results for a template report you can develop in Word document form.

Does this make sense?
 
C

cumarr

#3
Re: Is an Initial Environmental Review a must while implementing 14001

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you.

Am not clear on this. May be I was not clear in my question.

What we have done is, we have identified all the activities related to construction in our sites that are in progress, we have also identified trade specific activities. Their aspects and impacts are also identified. That forms our master list of Aspect and Impact in an excel sheet.

Hence my significant aspect and impact identification is a procedure on how the aspects and impacts are identified and their significance determined. We haven't done an Initial Environmental Review, so to say. We have done an initial review ( not "environmental") to identify aspects and impacts.

When it comes to each specific site, we use this master list to arrive at the aspects and impacts relevant to the acitivities that will be and those perceived to be there. We have an Environmental Management Plan for each site based on this, and control measures to address resource usage, and pollution control.

Since we are contractors, we cannot control the type of material used, since we need to follow the design.

So i had doubt with the word "environmental". If I was a company making some changes to the environment( not a contractor, but a project owner), then I would surely do an Initial Environmental Review to first study the present conditions and the effects my development would make to the present condition, both positive and negative. Later I would come up with a Environmental management plan to address the negative aspects.

So in my understanding an Initial Environmental Review would be the same as Initial Environmental Examination or Environmental Impact Assessment.

In our case, since we are implementing the EMS for the company, we have only chosen our activities related to construction and addressed the Significant part through an EMP. Would that suffice or would the Auditor as for an Initial "Environmental" Review report?
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#4
Re: Is an Initial Environmental Review a must while implementing 14001

What we have done is, we have identified all the activities related to construction in our sites that are in progress, we have also identified trade specific activities. Their aspects and impacts are also identified. That forms our master list of Aspect and Impact in an excel sheet.
For your defined areas, an assessment of what inputs are used, and apart from the desired output, what other wastes / discharges / emissions are let off into land water and air gives you a basis about your present environmental situation. ie. you will know all your areas where what natural resources are being utilized (Fuel, Water, Chemicals, Wood) and what pollutents are generated
There is no any aspect impact stuff here. It gives you a threadbare picture of what is used and what are biproducts generated.
This is to get a good grab of all used and disposed stuff that happens around you and I see you have done it. Right ???
From here you will do all that the ISO14k wants you to do to be able to minimize use of natural resources and prevent pollution.
 
Last edited:

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#5
This is a good discussion.

It's true that I did not use the term "environmental report" in the same context as is typical for construction companies. :eek:

If I was a property owner I would be very interested to know the manner in which contractors would/did control their activities to minimize environmental impacts of the chemicals and materials used, both in construction and to operate the equipment. Since the construction materials are called out in contract, then substitution may not be possible unless first receiving permission from the property owner.

The controls could be in regards to things like
  • Ensuring nearby streams are not contaminated by runoff/seepage from cement operations and/or mortar in bricklaying
  • Avoiding using lead, asbestos or CFCs
  • Preventing fuel/oil leakage from earth moving equipment and cranes
  • Legal disposal of solid and chemical wastes, and recycling efforts, if any
In that a typical environmental report addresses actual impacts to the environment such as wetlands or watershed areas, what I am imagining here is a report declaring your organization's activities that avoid actual impacts from the operations you conduct while at the site, using the methods somashekar described.

Does this make sense?
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#6
It doesn't matter what you are doing, how you do it or how you report it, all that matters is that you can answer the question(s).."What do you do, what happens and what can happen?"

Of course we are looking at your effect or potential effect upon the environment in the question above?

But an Initial Environmental Report? Not required anywhere between 4.1 to 4.6
 
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