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1995 Edition, September 10, 1995

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Provisional Standard Guide for Study and Evaluation of an Organization's Environmental Management Systems

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Product Details:

  • Revision: 1995 Edition, September 10, 1995
  • Published Date: September 10, 1995
  • Status: Not Active, See comments below
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: ASTM International (ASTM)
  • Page Count: 7
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:

1. Scope

1.1 This provisional guide identifies elements for evaluating an organization's environmental management system. It primarily applies to environmental management systems in the United States. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC207's Subcommittee 2 on Environmental Auditing has developed a draft standard, "Auditing of Environmental Management Systems" (ISO 14011/1). This draft ISO standard is currently in the international balloting process with a final ISO standard publication date scheduled for October 1996. ISO 14011/1 establishes audit procedures that provide for the planning and performance of an audit of an environmental management system (EMS) to determine conformance with EMS criteria. This provisional guide is consistent with the auditing principles in ISO 14011/1. There are some differences in how the two standards should be applied depending on the goals and objectives of the user (national/international) and the EMS criteria being audited.

1.2 Purpose--This provisional standard defines acceptable guidance for the study and evaluation of environmental management systems. It is intended to be sufficiently flexible to be adapted to the particular circumstances of individual audits of such systems.

1.2.1 This provisional guide is intended to govern the conduct of environmental audits of environmental management systems. Those who evaluate environmental management systems owe a responsibility to both management and a board of directors, providing both with information about the adequacy and effectiveness of the organization's system of environmental management.

1.3 Types of Environmental Audits--Environmental audits of environmental management systems are only one of several types of environmental audits routinely performed. While standards are needed to govern all of the types of environmental audits that are performed, this standard relates solely to audits of environmental management systems. Accordingly, whenever the terms "environmental audit, " "environmental auditing," or "environmental auditor" are used in this provisional guide, they are intended to apply solely to audits and auditors of environmental management systems.

1.4 Independence--Those who study and evaluate environmental management systems must be independent of the activities they audit. Independence permits those who provide the evaluation to perform their work freely and objectively.

1.5 Other Considerations--In setting this provisional guide, the following developments were considered:

1.5.1 All levels of management, as well as boards of directors, can be held accountable for the adequacy and effectiveness of their organization's systems of environmental management.

1.5.2 No generally accepted standardized approach for studying and evaluating environmental management systems currently exists. Several standards have been proposed by national and international standards setting organizations (see Appendix X1).

1.5.3 Internal environmental management systems vary widely, and no generally accepted practices for providing such management have yet been established. However, in an appendix to a Federal Register environmental auditing policy statement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided some general guidance that may be useful.

1.6 The responsibilities and functions of the environmental auditor should be related to the scope and complexity of environmental management systems in place in the organization. The auditor should not be expected to assess compliance with laws and regulations, but rather the organization's system of determining noncompliance and its response thereto. In all cases, however, the environmental auditor is responsible for providing the highest levels of management with an objective, systematic evaluation of the environmental management systems under review.

1.7 Limitations--This provisional guide does not include environmental assessments for property transactions, site compliance with environmental laws and regulations, pollution prevention program measurement, or assessments related to the cleanup of site contamination.

1.8 Provisional standards achieve limited consensus through approval of the sponsoring subcommittee.

1.9 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.