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ISO 14001 Environmental Aspects and Impacts - The Chicken Bone Thread



I am working ISO-14001 EMS,
I am looking for some example format of environmental aspect analysis and rating system to identify any activities that can have a significant environment impact. Your suggestion would be appreciate.


Jon Shaver

You should use your own criteria. Provided they are credible, you will better understand them & they will be "yours".
As a suggestion, consider the "risk" of an event/aspect as a function of its "likelihood" of occuring & the "severity" of its consequences (impact). You could rate each & then use a simple function (multiply the two ratings, for example) to get a priority ranking.
For instance,
aspect = large hazardous chemical release
severity = 8 (scale of 1 to 10)
likelihood = 5 (scale 1 to 10)
risk = 40
aspect = excessive amount of "X" in stormwater runoff
severity = 4
likelihood = 6
risk = 24
aspect = total loss of contents of a storge tank
severity = 10
likelihood = 1
risk = 10
#1 above has the greatest risk.
Its often quite arbitrary, but if its based on credible evidence the method works well.


Super Moderator
Jon is pretty much right on from everything I have seen. There is no standard way of weighing aspects that I know of unless the Europeans or Japanese have one. You may try looking at those groups. They have their act together more than us sophisticated Americans in the 14000 world.

Jon Shaver

There are some rather sophisticated ways to identify & measure risks being used by us slobs in USA, but they are mostly exercises in academia.
In the real world simple works best & devising your own (credible) rating criteria is the practical way to go.


Super Moderator
No argument from me.

4.3.1 The organization shall establish and maintain..........

The way I look at it is the way it's stated in the standard. The "organization" can use a method like the one you described, a Ouija board, or chicken bones dropped from a bag onto the ground.

How it is done is optional. Establishing and maintaining the system is all that's mandatory.


For our registered system, we simply counted up the number of each type of waste e.g. solid refuse, air pollutant, water pollutant, etc. and established a pie chart that broke aspects down into a percent of our overall waste.
We then attacked the biggest item the first year, the second biggest the second year {while keeping the 1st program going}.
Forcing continual improvement, it works great, simple yes, easy to understand yes, easy for people on the floor to understand yes, easy to put into place yes,
All these yes answers made the choice easy for us.
Dean Hill

[This message has been edited by pdboilermaker (edited 01 November 1999).]


Super Moderator
Makes sense to me. You guys came up with your own system, it works and you can quantify it.

I smell conformity in the air.


Thanks Jon, Randy and pdboilermaker for your suggestion to give some idea of analysis. I hope that I could start the EMS with nice shot.

Jon Shaver

Personally I like Randy's chicken bones idea.
So long as your method(s) for evaluating env'l aspects is appropriate for your operations and has a valid scientific basis you should be OK. Auditors / Registrars are getting anal about the science involved, though, so you may want to get a qualified expert opinion to support your basis.
PD - remember that waste is not the only env'l aspect in most organizations.

[This message has been edited by Jon Shaver (edited 02 November 1999).]


Super Moderator
That's right Jon about waste not being the only aspect. Most people though are not thinking 3 dimensionally when trying to identify aspects. It even happened at one of my employers other locations.

About the anal thing. I'm pretty sure your right, and I am very vocal about this. Even at this time from what I gather, a majority of the 14000 auditors out there working for registrars, are not environmental professionals. Some may have a smathering of training but thats it.

I consider myself a professional. I hold 2 credentials (1 granted by the Cal. EPA, and not counting my EMS-PA) in the environmental field. I've been working in the environmental field in California for 10 years. I've worked on developing a Risk Management Plan (CAA 112(r)) and all kinds of other neat stuff. I'm not an expert, but I know my way around 40CFR and Cal. Title 22. Nobody in the ISO 14000 world cares because I'm not an EMS-LA. I have nothing worthwhile to contribute. I think I have referenced this line of thought before.

Sooner or later somebody with a certificate is going to step in it. And in my opinion whoever stated that the EMS was conforming to the 14000 standard, without a good professional involved in the process, was in error.

Be that is it may, how are things?

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