Organizations aiming to undergo an ISO 14001:2015 certification and audit process means facing an auditor.
This final step involves an auditor who will check your organization’s work, processes, and documentation.
Sometimes, this audit could instill fear and tension among employees. To prevent this and to prepare your organization, QSE Academy created this post to explain what you can expect during the process.
We’ve also provided tips on how to go through this process. Should you need further assistance, our toolkits and consultants are available at the end of this post.
What You Will Encounter in the Certification Audit?
In reality, auditors won’t be able to review every process of your organization. Hence, they will only pick a sample or test to evaluate the proper operation of your system.
Certification audits normally consist of two phases:
- Auditors will review documented information of your organization first. They will then visit facilities to monitor whether it is compliant with the standard. Auditors can execute onsite audits to gain information about documented information such as procedures and manuals.
- Auditors will check if activities comply with ISO 14001 by gathering evidence-based on documented information, interviews, and observations.
Steps on How to Prepare for an ISO 14001:2015 Certification Audit
Implement and Operate the Standard
The first steps to obtaining ISO 14001 certification:
- Write the necessary documented information.
- Set up processes of your Environmental Management System (EMS).
After doing these tasks, your organizations could conduct an internal audit to check the effective implementation.
Similarly, performing a management review and carrying out the necessary corrective actions will help your organization comply with all the standard’s clauses and requirements.
Schedule Vital Activities Prior to the Certification Audit
To ensure your organization has sufficient time to execute and accomplish every phase of the implementation, you must create a schedule for every key activity, including management review and internal audit.
As a result, your project is done correctly and within the determined timeframe.
Your organization should write a Project Plan at the start of the implementation to allow you to assign responsibilities and set markers for various tasks.
Prepare Employees for the Certification Process
Explain to your employees that they should not be afraid of the auditor. Create a relaxed and professional atmosphere to help employees calm down. This will also lead to a smooth auditing process.
Additionally, every employee should be able to do their jobs properly, which is why the standard requires training as part of this preparation.
Furthermore, all employees should understand your organization’s environmental policy to learn what their commitments are in relation to environmental protection.
Similarly, employees must be aware of the environmental objectives to allow them to contribute to attaining them with their daily activities.
Check the Correct Functioning of Procedures and Processes
Make sure to execute all processes and follow all procedures. This step is crucial in getting a successful certification audit.
Guarantee the Efficiency of Corrective Action Process
Ensure that your organization has recorded and analyzed all non-conformities.
Likewise, corrective actions should have been effectively carried out. Corrections should be finished before the certification audit begins.
Your organization can also review previous external and internal audits.
Review and Update Your Documentation
Your organization should update all the documented information. Therefore, no employee should be using outdated documentation.
It is vital that all employees performing an activity follow documents that have been approved, reviewed, and communicated.
Keep the Workplace Organised and Clean
It is normal etiquette for workplaces to tidy up even when there’s no audit. But the hustle of daily routines may sometimes lead to disorderly workspaces.
Thus, for this crucial manner, make sure your organization has organized desks, rooms, offices, warehouses, and sites.
This will help you locate documentation, work instructions, procedures, policies, and records easily.
Accomplish the ISO 14001:2015 Certification Audit
Know that an auditor’s role isn’t finding any problems or mistakes within your organization.
An auditor is supposed to ensure that your organization has carried out everything as planned.
Likewise, auditors will improve your organization’s procedures and processes.
Simply follow these tips and steps to ensure a successful certification audit without any mishaps.