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August 27, 2002

Electronic newsroom



Independent Auditor Renews Brookhaven Lab’s Registration To International Environmental Standard

UPTON, NY – After conducting a rigorous third-party review, an independent auditor has renewed the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory ISO 14001 registration, confirming the quality of the Laboratory’s environmental management system

“Our ability to produce great science is directly tied to our ability to operate in an environmentally benign manner,” said Interim Laboratory Director Peter Paul. “Since receiving our original registration in 2001, we have worked to improve our procedures even further, continuing to incorporate an environmental awareness into every aspect of our operations.”

The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001 is a globally recognized standard that defines the structure of an organization’s environmental management system for purposes of improving its environmental performance. ISO 14001 requires an organization to identify potential environmental impacts and establish controls needed to minimize impacts, to monitor and communicate environmental performance, and to establish a formal process for continually improving the system. In October 2001, Brookhaven became the first national laboratory and first Long Island-based organization to obtain registration to the ISO 14001 standard.

In order to achieve registration, the Laboratory underwent an independent audit of its environmental management system to verify that the system conformed to all ISO requirements and that it was effectively implemented. One provision of the certification requires Brookhaven to undergo annual audits by an accredited auditing firm to assure that the system is maintained, and the first of these annual audits took place June 4-7.

In its recommendation for recertification, NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd., an independent third-party environmental review firm from Ann Arbor, Michigan, singled out 12 aspects of Brookhaven’s program as being particularly noteworthy. These included Brookhaven’s use of a “lessons learned” program to develop relevant preventative actions, its system to track and correct training deficiencies, and its systems for identifying environmental protection priorities and tracking issues. NSF reviewers also noted that Brookhaven’s pollution prevention program has continued to grow, and now generates more proposals from scientists than operational personnel. The fact that the scientific staff is becoming engaged in the pollution prevention program is evidence of the improved environmental awareness produced by the EMS.

“These audit results are quite positive, and show that continual improvement is important to the Laboratory ” said George Goode, EMS program manager. ”Clearly, the organization has implemented the ISO 14001 system and is beginning to realize some real benefits.”

To gain and maintain registration to the standard, an organization must comply with a set of 17 ISO 14001 requirements. These include:

  • Development of an environmental policy with a commitment to compliance, pollution prevention, and continual improvement.
  • Identification of environmental aspects and impacts of an operation and any legal requirements, setting goals and objectives consistent with policy and implementing programs to achieve the goals.
  • Establishment of a support structure to administer environmental training, communication, documentation, operational control, and emergency preparedness.
  • Implementation of checking and corrective actions that include monitoring and auditing functions, and senior management review of overall system effectiveness.
  • Completion of annual audits by independent auditors to ensure continued conformance to requirements and to maintain registration.

Founded in 1946, ISO is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO has developed international voluntary consensus standards for manufacturing, communication, trade, and management systems. Over 100 countries have national standards bodies that are members of ISO. Major corporations that have received the ISO 14001 designation include IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Xerox.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.