Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Intro to "Show me the Shall"

This blog is all about ISO 14001 implementation and auditing, so, there are basically three types of people (or maybe only 3 people period) who might be interested in it:

“ISO fed up with this frigging EMS!” (Embattled EMRs)
“ISO frigging confused about EMS!” (Shell-Shocked Newbies)

“ISO tired of frigging traveling!!” (Road-Weary Auditors)

Even if you are not one of these poor devils, there’s something here for everybody (OK, maybe not normal people): advice on EMS implementation and maintenance, internal/external auditing tips for both parties (how to tell people they have an ugly "baby", AND how to deal with audit results showing that your "baby" is, in fact, ugly) and
common sense advice based on "real world" experiences.

The primary purpose of this blog is to explain the “shalls” of the standard in layman's terms, but the ultimate goal is to reveal the great hidden secret behind ISO 14001 --- drum roll please --- there is way more flexibility than you think! I hope the explanations and examples will help your system work for you, instead of the other way around.

This is a place to share experiences, gripes and, of course, audit horror stories - so please feel free to comment! Just remember, the central philosophy is the title of this blog - everything should be geared toward continual improvement of our understanding of the standard (how's that for buzzword bingo?) All advice is based on the "KISS" principal (and if you don't know what KISS means, say "hello" to the root cause of most of your troubles!).

I can’t think of a drier topic than EMS. For example: document contr…YAAWWN!!! – need I say more? Still, I hope to make it a little entertaining (at least not boring), and, of course, enlightening… well, maybe just thought-provoking... Um, how about only mildly upsetting? OK, OK, I’ll shoot for not morally offensive. FINE! Not morally offensive to “everyone.”

This brings us to the only rule I can think of now: Ground Rule #1 Let's keep it fun. No personal attacks and don't take any of this personally. This blog is based on my opinion, and all comments and contributions are just opinions.
This is my creative outlet and I do it because "I love." And, (just to throw a movie quote in): "Love means never having to say you're sorry." So everyone put on your "big girl panties" and play nice.

: Please make any real-life examples anonymous. We must protect the innocent AND the guilty, like

…well, you know who you are...

For more on who I am, and why I feel even remotely qualified to tell anyone anything about ISO, see my profile or download the pdf.

If you are actually desperate enough to want my consulting or training services, you can call me on my mobile (219.871.9748) or send me an e-mail at

If you are tired of watching YouTube or need another time-wasting diversion, check out my website: You won't win fabulous prizes or become instantly (in)famous, but you can learn more about the standard and A.W.E. Consulting, Inc.

For those of you stalking me, I've just made it easier - now you can follow me on Twitter (ISO14001MEL) - click the link in the right hand column.

Anyway, ISO happy you are reading this and I hope it is helpful!

Happy audit trails!


Anonymous said...

Is it mandatory to have a 'significant' aspect or aspects in order to be registered?

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between an 'objective' and a 'target'?

Anonymous said...

I was wondring if it is a requirement to be "certified" by the ANAB to have a 14001 system?

Anonymous said...

What is your weirdest/strangest auditing experience?

Anonymous said...

My boss said I would be fired if we failed our audit, what would be some criteria for failing an ISO14001 audit?

Anonymous said...

The standard says you must perform internal audits, but does not mandate a time line. Would it be acceptable to perform an internal audit every three years?