Do Internal Auditors need environmental training in ISO 14001:2015?

Do you struggle to understand whether ISO 14001:2015 requires that Internal Auditors to hold specific environmental qualifications, have a background in Environmental Management programmes or have previous work experience in the environmental field?

An ISO Interpretation could help you understand how competence and training needs for Internal Auditors within your use of ISO 14001:2015.

This article looks at one of the interpretations given by the ISO Technical Committee, TC 207 Sub-Committee 1, which is the Sub-Committee responsible for ISO 14001:2015 and other associated environmental International Standards.

The interpretation process operates as an escalation of an interpretation enquiry from a National Member Body, such as BSI in the UK and ANSI in the United States, with all interpretation enquiries reviewed on an annual basis and their results published on the Sub-Committee 1 website.

It is important to note that its interpretations do not change the requirements in ISO 14001 but are intended to give users a better understanding on ISO 14001.

The question about the status of ISO 14001:2015 within an Environmental Management System was raised by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and relates to the intent of Clauses 9.2.

Quiet a mouthful of a question.

The Interpretation Response given stated:

ISO14001 does not contain specific requirements on certification, education, or work experience for internal auditors or any other position.

Clause 7.2 on Competence, requires an organization to:

“determine the necessary competence of persons doing work under its control that affects its environmental performance…”;

“ensure that these persons are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training or experience”,

“where applicable, take actions to acquire the necessary competence, and evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken”; and,

“retain appropriate documentation as evidence of competence”.

These actions can include the provision of training, mentoring, reassignment and hiring or contracting competent persons. Thus, it is the intent of ISO 14001 that the organization decides what education, training or experience, including certifications, is appropriate for its internal auditors.

The Interpretation Response adds a further Note, that:

“Although not required by ISO 14001, guidance on selection and competence of internal auditors can be found in ISO 19011”.

So, to summarise:

The ISO TC 207 Sub-Committee 1 interpretation clarifies ISO 14001 does not contain specific requirements on the certification, education, or work experience for internal auditors or any other position. It is for the organisation to determine the competence and training that is required for its Internal Auditors.

You can click on the link here for our associated episode on the competence and training for employees in relation to legal requirements / obligations to find out more about the competence requirements within ISO 14001.

You can download a copy of the ISO Interpretation document here, which includes this specific interpretation.

If this article has helped has helped to advance your understanding of ISO 14001:2015 in relation to determining training needs for Internal Auditors within your Environmental Management System, please leave a comment in the box below, if this article has help you.

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