ISO 14001

Management Model for the New Millennium

By Thea Dunmire, JD, CIH, CSP

Copyright 2000 by ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc.

Presentation at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference 2000

The Practice of Industrial Hygiene is Changing

Expansion of the field of industrial hygiene was initially due to regulatory, particularly OSHA, initiatives. There was a huge expansion in association membership in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. This expansion was primarily a reflection of OSHA’s focus on worker safety and health issues and the number of regulations OSHA developed.


Today the world has changed. As we move into the new millennium it is clear that most companies must transact business globally to survive. Standards are critically important as companies move toward doing business internationally. One of the primary roles of international standards is to facilitate trade by harmonizing standards between countries.



This is not just a safety and health issue. It is an issue for business as a whole, from software development to product labeling. Global commerce requires a "common language" and standards are the mechanism for providing it. Regulations cannot serve this function.






Standards vs. Regulations



Industrial Hygienists Need to Care about Standards, not just Regulations

Companies may be required to comply with standards in order to stay in business. In September 1999, both Ford Motor Company and General Motors issued press releases stating that their suppliers will be required to have ISO 14001 environmental management systems in place within three years – by July 1, 2003 for Ford and by December 31, 2002 for General Motors. Banks and other investors are increasingly interested in a company’s environmental, as well as its financial, performance.



Standards are a often used to define industry "best practices." By being knowledgeable about the subject matter and content of various standards, you will be conversant with the issues important to your profession and your company. The value of standard is often, not only their actual content, but also the attention they focus on the subject matter contained within them.

Waiting for a customer or company management to demand conformance to a particular standard can lead to taking on an obligation to meet a standard without a clear understanding of what is actually required.



Three Standards Impacting Worker Safety and Health


ANSI Z10 is the committee designation for a committee whose mission is to develop a Safety Management Standard within the American National Standards Institute. AIHA has been named as the secretariat for the development of this standard.



SA 8000 is a standard developed by the Council on Economic Priorities Accreditation Agency (CEPAA). It is intended to help protect worker’s rights. Of interest to industrial hygienists, one of its nine major requirements categories is Health and Safety, with 6 listed criteria.

The first criteria in the Health and Safety Category, 3.1, states: "The company, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards, shall provide a safe and healthy working environment and shall take adequate steps to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with or occurring in the course of work, by minimizing, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment;"


This standard can be accessed from CEPAA’s web site at




ISO 14000, and particularly ISO 14001, is the focus of the rest of this paper.




What is ISO 14000?

ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services. ISO’s work results in international agreements that are published as International Standards. To date, ISO’s work has resulted in 12,000 International Standards. ISO has standards for such diverse products as screw threads, camera film, banking cards freight containers and paper sizes.


Further information on ISO and copies of the ISO 14000 standards can be obtained from ISO’s web site at


The ISO 14000 Standards



Environmental Management System 14001, 14004
Environmental Auditing 14010, 14011, 14012
Environmental Labeling 14020, 14025
Life-cycle Assessment 14040 – 14043
Terms and Definitions 14050


ISO 14001 is Based on Other Management Standards

ISO 14001 grew out of the ISO 9000 standard. The ISO 9000 series of standards was originally released in 1987. It was heavily based on military standards developed in the 1950’s. ISO 9000 was developed as a result of pressure from business for the creation of a common approach to evaluate supplier’s quality management systems. Since the ISO 9000 standards were released in 1987, more than 100 countries have approved them as their national standards. A new revision of ISO 9000 is scheduled for release in 2000.

The ISO 14001 standard grew out of efforts undertaken following the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in 1992. In 1993, ISO created Technical Committee 207 that was charged with "standardization in the field of environmental management tools and systems." The standard developed by this committee, ISO 14001, was published as a final standard in 1996.


Requirements of ISO 14001





Additional details on each of these requirements can be found on ENLAR’s web site at



ISO 14001 Requirements Follow the Continual Improvement Model

This continual improvement model requires a continual cycle of "plan, do, check, act" as defined by the ISO 9000/14001 standards.

The "planning" elements of ISO 14001 are 4.2 Environmental Policy and 4.3 Environmental Planning. The "do" elements of ISO 14001 are in 4.4 Implementation and Operation. The "check" elements are in 4.5 Checking and Corrective Action. The "act" element is 4.6 Management Review.



ISO Registration Process



Two Fundamental Principles of Registration Assessment


What does ISO 14001 Mean for Industrial Hygienists?

Companies are already moving to integrate their quality (ISO 9000) and environmental program (ISO 14001). Many are already including safety and industrial hygiene in implementing their ISO 14001 EMS.


ISO 14001 Section 4.5.1 requires measurement of the "key characteristics" of a company’s operations and activities with significant environmental impacts.


Standards are written by those who show up. If you want a say in what the standards are going to be, you must actively participate in the process, which is already moving forward.


Additional Resources

For additional information on ISO 14001, check out the web site for ENLAR Compliance Services at


Author Information

Thea Dunmire has a diverse environmental background. In addition to an engineering degree (BSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa), Ms. Dunmire has a law degree (Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude from Syracuse University). She is also a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and a RAB-certified Environmental Management Systems Auditor for ISO 14001.

Ms. Dunmire’s work experience is equally diverse. She has worked for manufacturing companies such as Allied Chemical and Bristol Myers Squibb where she conducted audits of company facilities on an international basis. In addition, she was an Assistant Regional Counsel with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and an environmental attorney with a major law firm in Chicago.

Ms. Dunmire has extensive environmental experience. She has assisted clients in determining complex regulatory compliance requirements and structuring environmental, safety and health management systems. She has drafted corporate policies and procedures, overseen complex environmental remediation projects, developed permit applications for air, water, storm water and hazardous waste, assisted clients in the re-development of environmentally-impacted properties, and dealt with enforcement cases resulting from agency inspections. In all, Ms. Dunmire has over 20 years of experience in the environmental, safety and health fields.


Ms. Dunmire is the author of several publications including Legal Pitfalls on the Path to ISO 14001 Registration; Occupational Safety and Health Legal Issues, chapter in Handbook of Occupational Safety and Health (second edition); Environmental Hazards and Liabilities, A Guide for Real Estate Professionals; and Real Estate Tax Valuations: Factoring in Environmental Impacts, 1 Environmental Finance 4, Winter 1991/92.

Ms Dunmire is currently president of ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc. ENLAR provides management and technology-based solutions to help companies handle today=s complex environmental, safety and health requirements. For more information, visit ENLAR’s web site at