An effective environmental management system (EMS) requires monitoring and updating. If you don't, the policy that guides it may become out of date and ineffective.
If you want external certification of your EMS, you will need to show that you are reviewing and improving your EMS on a regular basis.
Scheduling and managing reviews of your environmental management system
By establishing clear internal auditing systems you can ensure that the measures contained in your policy are being implemented on a day-to-day basis. There are no specific rules you must follow, but you need to have in place:
- procedures that monitor the overall effectiveness of your EMS
- mechanisms that keep an eye on your targets and objectives
- clear definitions of reporting and management responsibilities
- regularly scheduled reviews of the procedures and practices that underpin your EMS
To ensure these are being carried out effectively, you must have commitment from your management team.
It's also sensible to incorporate your EMS into your other management processes, such as health and safety and quality control. It makes day-to-day management easier and helps communicate your policies to staff.
Acting on the results of your EMS review
When you review your EMS, you'll probably uncover more effective ways to do things as a result. Make sure you communicate the results of the reviews to staff. As a minimum, you should provide them with updated documentation, but it's a good idea to run group training sessions or one-to-one meetings to ensure the changes and improvements are understood and acted upon.
Completing the EMS cycle
Reviewing your EMS is something you should try to do on a regular basis. Once the review is complete and staff and systems have been updated, schedule the next major review well in advance to ensure the policy doesn't slip off the radar and lose effectiveness.