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ISO 14001 How to define environmental aspects

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Guest user Created:   Aug 24, 2023 Last commented:   Aug 24, 2023

ISO 14001 How to define environmental aspects

I have started at a new company and the system set up seems complicated. Finding: the normal, abnormal, and foreseeable emergency situations related to the aspect defined within the Environmental Aspect and risk register has not been defined. What are they looking for?
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ISO 14001 DOCUMENTATION TOOLKIT

Step-by-step implementation for smaller companies.

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Carlos Pereira da Cruz Aug 24, 2023

“Finding: the normal, abnormal, and foreseeable emergency situations related to the aspect defined within the Environmental Aspect and risk register has not been defined.”

When implementing an Environmental Management System, we must determine the environmental aspects associated with activities, products, and services, taking into account, to the extent reasonable, the life cycle perspective..

Environmental aspects should be determined considering situations of normal operation, abnormal operation, and emergencies.

I will consider a brick manufacturer for construction as an example.

Examples of Normal Environmental Aspects:

  • Raw Material Consumption: The extraction and use of raw materials such as clay, sand, and water in brick production can impact local ecosystems and deplete natural resources.
  • Energy Consumption: The energy used for firing and drying bricks can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
  • Air Emissions: Dust, particulate matter, and gases released during the firing process can affect air quality in the vicinity of the manufacturing facility.
  • Water Consumption and Discharge: The consumption of water in brick production and the discharge of wastewater can impact local water resources and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Waste Generation: The production process generates waste materials such as broken or defective bricks, which need proper management to minimize environmental impact. 
  • Examples of Abnormal Environmental Aspects:

  • Equipment Malfunctions: Malfunctions of machinery or kilns could lead to increased emissions, energy waste, and potential safety hazards.
  • Spillage or Leakage: Accidental spillage of raw materials, such as clay or chemicals, can contaminate soil and water sources
  • Workplace Incidents: Accidental releases of dust, particulates, or other pollutants due to equipment failures or human errors could occur.
  • Noise Generation: Increased noise levels due to malfunctioning equipment can impact the surrounding community and wildlife. 
  • Examples of Emergency Environmental Aspects:

  • Fires: Fires in kilns, storage areas, or other parts of the facility could lead to air emissions, release of hazardous substances, and potential danger to employees and nearby communities.
  • Chemical Spills: Accidental spills of chemicals or fuels used in the manufacturing process can lead to soil and water contamination.
  • Power Outages: Power outages could disrupt operations and result in issues such as incomplete brick firing or increased emissions upon restarting.
  • Natural Disasters: Natural events like earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes could damage facilities, disrupt operations, and lead to potential environmental contamination.
  • Structural Failures: Failures in storage structures, kilns, or other equipment could result in spills, emissions, and other environmental impacts.
  • It's important for the manufacturer to identify and assess these environmental aspects and develop appropriate measures to mitigate potential negative impacts. This includes implementing pollution prevention strategies, disaster preparedness plans, and emergency response procedures to ensure the protection of the environment and the safety of employees and the surrounding community.

    You can find more information on the following links:

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    Aug 24, 2023

    Aug 24, 2023

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