Implementing ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards can seem daunting. Here’s how environmental health and safety software can significantly lighten the load.
By Cory Sander
If you’re an EHS manager or part of an EHS team, you’ve likely heard the terms ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 many times. The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) sets environmental standards for businesses and the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) does the same on the health and safety side. But what you might not know is how an online EHS management system can help you gain certification or accreditation to these standards.
Implementing ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 can help you achieve both compliance and continual improvement as it relates to everything from lowering your organization’s impacts on the environment to controlling health and safety risks. But at first, meeting all the requirements of these systems can seem daunting. That’s where environmental health and safety software can significantly lighten the load, by:
Supporting Collaboration and Communication
Part of implementing ISO means spreading out responsibilities and tasks throughout your organization. Instead of one person being responsible for everything environmental, you should engage individual players who affect compliance. EHS software gives you a place to share information, collaborate on ideas and track tasks or results. You could set a monthly task, for instance, to report on overall paint usage. Then assign a responsible person who’d receive email reminders to log that information right in the software.
Simplifying Document Control
No one likes paperwork, but proper document control is a necessary evil with ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. You need to make sure everyone on your team is following the most up-to-date requirements and instructions. It’s all too easy for an old, out-of-date paper document to linger in someone’s file cabinet or on someone’s workboard waiting to be used. But with EHS software, your documents live in one place online that’s accessible to your whole team. This makes it easy for you to update or change your EHS management plan or a safety checklist without tracking down and destroying older versions.
Identifying Your Obligations
Some EHS managers still try to track all their permits and regulatory requirements in their heads or in a set of paper notes. EHS software brings all these obligations together in one place, and you can allow staff members access to the information as you choose. Keep electronic copies of your permits, log regulatory requirements and even include company specific priorities. Your organization, for example, may have a recycling mandate that you can detail and log with your other obligations.
Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities are big components of both ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. EHS software makes assigning and managing responsibility for a given requirement easy. You can assign an individual to conduct a monthly SPCC inspection, for example. Then the software will automatically send reminders to the person, and he or she will log the task as done in the software. It adds both efficiency and accountability to the process.
OK, now you have someone in charge of that SPCC inspection, but what about the inspection record? You can’t just file it in the garbage, but an overstuffed filing cabinet isn’t ideal either, especially in the case of an audit. EHS software allows you to create and store an electronic inspection record where it’s easy for anyone on the team to retrieve. Think of it as a standardized filing system across your organization that gives you effortless record control.
Meeting ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 requires you to conduct routine audits and the process will be much less painful with EHS software for all the reasons mentioned above. You’ll have an up-to-date management plan easily accessible by everyone. All requirements and records will be logged, along with the accompanying roles and responsibilities. Plus, you can easily run reports for everything that’s happening.
Are you ready to start exploring EHS software and what it can do for you? Schedule a free demo of PlanTRAK today.