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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Integrated Management System

More and more organisations are beginning to introduce ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental Management Systems) into their business and are never quite sure if they should integrate the requirements with their already existing ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System. In our experience this is a suitable option for most organisations and is relatively easy to carry out.

Due to a number of the clauses being almost identical but essentially following the same process it makes sense to combine these procedures to streamline the system and make it more manageable for users.

For example, both standards require control of Non-conformance’s, Corrective Actions and Preventive Actions and although the standards are different the process for controlling these will be the same. You can have a non-conformance against a product or process requirement within ISO 9001 but then a non-conformance against an environmental incident such as a spillage in ISO 14001. Although the non-conformance is different, the process for identifying the root cause and introducing correction and corrective actions will be the same. In both cases you need to establish how the non-conformance occurred and how you are going to correct the root cause to ensure that the same issue does not reoccur.

The management review can follow the same process. Both standards require you to perform a management review, they may have different input and output requirements but there is no need to hold tow meetings as the process of going through the inputs and reviewing data will be the same. As long as your system captures the requirements of both standards auditors will be happy for you to combine the review process.

Internal Audits is another process that can be integrated fairly easily. Again, the process of performing the audits will be the same, you will just be looking at different specific areas at various points. You will however notice that the auditor will only need to audit some of the processes once; ensuring that the requirements of both standards are covered (training etc).

There are a number of consultants who are experienced with both standards and the process of integrating these. A list of possible consultants can be found on the IMS main website but others are available.

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