Why ISO 14001 for healthcare?
While the main focus for healthcare providers is to deliver high quality care, there is increasing appreciation that such organisations impact the environment in many ways. Factors, such as building management, energy and water usage, antibiotic usage, laboratory work, construction work and handling of hazardous chemicals may generate emissions and waste.
An efficient environmental management system helps you to control the environmental footprint related to all these activities. ISO 14001 provides a systematic approach to planning, implementing and managing your environmental management system. Implementation allows your organisation to control its environmental impact and ensure it meets legal requirements, both national and international.
How ISO 14001 certification supports your organisation
The potential benefits of ISO 14001 are numerous, but the most significant and tangible ones are that the standard enables your organisation to:
- Identify, understand and monitor the environmental impacts of your activities and the risks involved.
- Be aware of the organisation’s direct environmental impact, as well as indirect impact through you suppliers.
- Implement necessary controls in order to manage all factors impacting the environment.
- Establish an environmental policy and objectives
- Comply with applicable legal requirements and meet stakeholder demands.
- Continually improve your management system.
- Improve your resource management, including use of energy, which also may imply a reduction in the cost of running your operations.
- Facilitate reductions in pollution, waste generation, chemical handling and unintended discharges to the environment.
- Enhance your environmental performance over time.
One of the most important aspects of the standard is the inherent commitment to continual improvement. When you are certified to ISO 14001 you will not only confirm that your environmental management system meets the standard’s basic requirements and all applicable legislation. You also commit to a continuous process of improvement to ensure minimal environmental impact from your activities.
How do I get started?
Before starting the certification process it’s important that you and your organisation are committed and set clear targets for the implementation and assessment of your environmental management system. These are important steps to get started:
- Get familiarized with the ISO 14001 standard. Training programs are available, and the standard can be acquired on iso.org.
- Identify all applicable legal requirements that you must comply with.
- Assess your organisation to identify and understand all activities that impact the environment, and find potential gaps that you need to fill. Third party pre-assessments may prove valuable in an early phase of the implementation.
- Establish objectives, targets and improvement programmes and initiate actions to fill gaps.
- Ensure top management commitment. A good management system needs to ensure commitment from top level through to the entire organisation.
- Engage an accredited certification body, such as DNV GL - Business Assurance, to get started with the certification process.