Does ISO 14001 require risk assessment?

ISO 14001:2015 focuses on assessing and managing environmental risks, promoting continual improvement. Effective risk management ensures positive environmental impact. Citation Certification, an accredited ISO certification body, helps organisations achieve ISO 14001 certification and improve their environmental risk management.
Does ISO 14001 require risk assessment?

The ISO 14001:2015 standard requires organisations to focus on assessing and managing environmental risks. ISO 14001 risk management is designed to foster an environment of continual improvement. There is a positive environmental impact if risks are identified and managed correctly. Risk assessment is among the most critical elements of an environmental management system’s performance.

Do you have to document your risk assessment procedure?

Generally, there is no need to document your organisation’s risk and opportunity procedure. However, documenting comes with numerous benefits. ISO 14001:2015 highlights that organisations should maintain recorded information regarding risks and opportunities.

This helps demonstrate that issues have been addressed appropriately. Besides, an organisation should maintain evidence of the risks and opportunities and the results of the risk management procedure.

What does the risk assessment entail?

It is essential to remember that ISO 14001 risk assessment does not deal with every risk an organisation faces. ISO 14001 deals with environmental management, so it is all about ecological risks. For example, it may entail the risk associated with an oil spill, meaning that broader business elements such as data protection are not involved.

It is also essential to note that risk is subjective and must be based on the interpretation, judgement, and opinions of interested parties or those within the organisation. It does not have to be based on numbers or complex spreadsheets.

Individuals involved in creating the 2015 standard version have clearly stated that ISO 14001 does not require organisations to conduct a formal risk assessment. It is up to your organisation to decide the risk assessment measures suitable for your business.

You can choose the risk assessment criteria, approach, or method you want. You are free to use a qualitative or quantitative approach or a combination of both approaches. You can use a single risk matrix or a combined risk register.

Your risk assessment can be a component of other EMS processes, part of your other business processes, or treated as a standalone process.

Identifying risk with an EMS (Environmental Management System)

Typically, organisations use preventive action and risk assessment to control environmental performance and mitigate risks from becoming so tangible that they can affect your organisation’s results or, worse, the environment.

Environmental risks should be identified similarly to health safety and quality management systems risks. This may involve threat assessment, likelihood, impact, and vulnerability. In most organisations, environmental risk assessment is conducted by an environmental representative.

Instead of being left to one organisation representative, the risk assessment will require input from top management and other organisational stakeholders. Therefore, it should be expected for your organisation’s management team to play an active role in risk identification.

Perhaps it may be an excellent idea to schedule frequent risk identification meetings with the management team. This can help provide a more accurate representation of environmental management risk within your organisation.

How Citation Certification can help

ISO 14001:2015 risk assessment positively affects an organisation’s immediate environment and the legacy individuals leave for future generations. Want to learn more about how you can improve your organisation’s environmental risk management? You can get started by becoming ISO 14001 certified.

At Citation Certification, we are an accredited ISO certification body to offer the assistance you need to comply with globally recognised ISO standards. Contact us today to discover more about how we can help you adopt these best practices in your business.

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