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Many companies with environmental management systems (EMS) also have registered quality management systems (QMS). Frequently, the quality system representative is designated as the EMS representative because he or she is knowledgeable about systems.
This dual role is almost always true when the QMS and EMS have been integrated; and it is more typical than not even when the two systems are established as separate, parallel efforts.
Quality assurance managers attempting to understand the requirements of ISO 14001 often are confused about the references to regulatory compliance. Limited or no previous exposure to environmental regulatory requirements leads to questions concerning the role ISO 14001 plays in assuring regulatory compliance.
Three related requirementsISO 14001 imposes three related requirements:
1. An organization must identify all of its environmental legal obligations and be familiar with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. Additionally, the organization must have some mechanism for ensuring that new legal obligations are identified in a timely fashion.
2. The environmental policy must contain a commitment to understand and comply with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. Words on paper aren't sufficient; an organization must make every effort to fulfill its commitment to do what it says it is going to do.
3. Compliance with identified legal requirements must be evaluated on some self-defined periodic basis. Whether an organization engages in a comprehensive compliance audit or employs a variety of monitoring activities, it must know whether all identified legal requirements are being met. In the event a regulatory noncompliance is identified, the organization must take action to correct the noncompliance and prevent it from recurring.
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