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ISO 14001 Rookie - Paramedic as Acting EHS Coordinator needing help.

J

JMireles

#1
I guess a little background is needed if I can hope to get the help I am really searching for.

I recently took a job as a Paramedic (that's normally what I do) and somehow I have ended up as acting EHS Coordinator (which just means I do all the work and get none of the pay lol). When I was hired it was explained to me that since there weren't enough accidents in the plant (an automotive manufacturing plant with about 500 employees) to justify 40 hours of work a week, that I would also be working with some safety and environmental issues.

About a week into the job, while trying to clean up some workman comp messes, I was informed "BTW, you have an ISO 14001 audit next week." To which I replied "What is ISO?" As you can tell, the story is about to go downhill.

After the EMS for the plant being totally ripped to shreds by the DNV Auditor (I believe his exact quote was to scrap the whole program and start over), I am left with trying to basically put a whole system together myself. Did I mention I have ZERO training. I had never even heard of ISO until the audit the other week, I've had no OSHA training but have somehow ended up in charge of that as well, and there is a total of 1 person working in this whole department (that would be me.)

I have searched this site for over a week trying to read up on everything I can to help me. I have downloaded every manual I can think of, and I was told by management that I didn't have time to go take some classes because "WE have to get these audit findings cleared up first."

I'm not asking for anyone here to do the work for me, but my main problem I think (besides lack of education in this area) is that I don't know what to search for.

I've found numerous examples of systems but I don't want a copy and paste system. I would like it to be something that actually works for us.

(This company has been ISO Certified since 2004 and has been unable to keep someone in the coordinator's job for longer than a few months. I am starting to understand why.)
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

Welcome to the Cove!

First of all... thank you for your service to the community.

Second, we have a huge amount of posters that get handed responsibilities/roles within the quality community that they have not been given any training/explanation/etc. That is sad, and is just not fair :nope:.

But, since that's life and reality, we all just have to try to do the best we can.

I tell you what, I'll put in overtime trying to help you as much as possible. You serve people everyday; maybe some of us can give back to you.

I am not a SME, but I'll do my best. Can you post what you currently have?
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#3
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

Sorry. A couple of more questions.

1. Was the audit that you had your first audit?
2. Have you consulted some neighboring community programs?

Have you (or someone with your organization) talked with the auditor? Some of my more qualified audit colleagues may have different advice, but I would contact the auditor and explain the situation. It will be a waste of time and money for that auditor to come out, if the program is in that bad of shape. I might develop some plan of action, contact the auditor, explain the situation, have a plan of action, and then do your best to move forward.
 
J

JMireles

#4
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

I spent 2 days talking with the auditor. This was our 7th audit. Basically the excuse everytime was that the EHS Coordinator was new and would get right on addressing all the noncompliances. By the time of the next audit, guess what...another new EHS Coordinator.

The auditor was actually really understanding of my situation. And he was a really nice guy. However, I completely understand his position as well. He doesn't have a choice on reporting all of our nonconformancies. Some of them dated back to the very first audit findings in 2004. And we very well can lose our certification over this last audit. From some of the past audit findings, it actually looks like this auditor has bent over backwards trying to help the previous coordinators in straightening up the system.

I think their approach has been to do just enough to keep the auditor off their back but not really fix the problem. That's not what I am looking for.
 
J

JMireles

#5
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

As far as consulting other programs, I got in trouble for even calling our Corporate Headquarters and asking questions about legal regulations and corporate policies so I could add them to 4.3.2.
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

I do not want to sound negative but it appears to me that you are fighting a lost cause. From what I've gathered in your posts, there is absolutely no commitment and you're faced with a system that's beyond repair. No way to make a living. if you see hope, we Covers can possibly help you. If you don't, get out. You are much better off saving people's lives, than trying to salvage a bad environmental management system that is on life support.

Wishing you strength my friend!

Stijloor.
 
J

JMireles

#7
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

I fight lost causes on a daily basis. Like anything thing else, I am trying to look at this as an improvise-adapt-overcome situation.

Besides, I am stubborn and don't want to give up yet.
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#8
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

...The auditor was actually really understanding of my situation. And he was a really nice guy. However, I completely understand his position as well. He doesn't have a choice on reporting all of our nonconformancies. Some of them dated back to the very first audit findings in 2004. And we very well can lose our certification over this last audit. From some of the past audit findings, it actually looks like this auditor has bent over backwards trying to help the previous coordinators in straightening up the system.
Well, Stijloor summed it up fairly well. I realize it is in your nature to overcome obstacles everyday, but this will be a tough one to do by yourself. These problems did not occur overnight, and will not be remedied overnight.

Has anyone addressed the previous findings? I might start there.

What is the impact should you lose this certification? I realize the sound of defeat does not sit well with you. It wouldn't me either. However, your supervisor should be briefed that the possibility is fairly likely it will occur.
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

What is the impact should you lose this certification? I realize the sound of defeat does not sit well with you. It wouldn't me either. However, your supervisor should be briefed that the possibility is fairly likely it will occur.
I guess that losing the certificate would get Management's attention, especially when there are serious implications with respect to doing business with a customer who made ISO 14001 registration an expectation/requirement.... I sense that was the primary reason to become registered in the first place. A meaningless plaque on the wall.

Stijloor.
 
J

JMireles

#10
Re: ISO 14001 Rookie needing help.

My supervisors were briefed. When the auditor did his closing meeting he went over all the findings with all of management.

And I am actually not looking to fix the old system. I am all for scraping it all and starting over. It will be much simpler to start with a clean slate than trying to fix someone else's mistakes.

The other audit findings were only addressed enough to close them out. However when that happened, things went back to the way they were and the same problems arose on the next audit.
 
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