Environmental Management System
Definitions and Abbreviations
Activities, Products, or Service – All operations that occur at a facility under normal or abnormal conditions.
Calibration - the periodic determination of the accuracy of a piece of equipment by comparison to a standard of known accuracy in order to ensure the accuracy of the measurements taken with the equipment.
Communication Coordinator (CC) – a person designated by the EMS Team and listed in Intelex to manage and respond to communication requests at a particular facility.
Competency Training -any training required by a staff member in order to perform their job. This training directly relates to the task required to do their job.
Controlled Documents - official EMS documents, which require a standard format and may require periodic review and revision. Following the proper procedures for controlled documents ensures that the most recent copy of a document is used.
Corrective action – a reactive measure taken to address a problem after the problem has been identified. The need for a corrective action generally indicates a weakness in the EMS or an area overlooked in the EMS implementation process. Corrective actions should be taken as soon as possible to prevent reoccurrences.
Environmental Compliance Representative (ECR) – any representative(s) from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety who is in charge of helping to establish and maintain the EMS for the entire University.
Environmental Management System (EMS) – a defined system of procedures, training, and methods to monitor an organization’s impact on the environment and evaluate ways to minimize negative impacts on the environment.
Emergency - refers to any potential problem, accident, spill, fire, or any other situation which requires immediate, effective response in order to mitigate or prevent any adverse impacts on human life, the environment, or the facility and its operations.
EMS audit – a planned examination of an EMS to determine whether it has been implemented properly and in accordance with common EMS practice. The audit is completed in accordance with established checklists and written procedures to verify the comprehensiveness of the EMS.
EMS auditor - a person properly qualified and trained to plan, organize, and carry out EMS audits of University facilities. The auditor is responsible for reporting any findings and observations to the ECR. The EMS auditor may be an outside, independent party or a properly trained member of the University.
EMS Documentation – Policies and procedures relating to the management of EMS related documents. These documents include, but are not limited to, the EMS Manual, EMS Policies and Procedures, and Operational Procedures.
EMS Steering Committee – University staff members who are not involved in daily EMS operations or the implementation of the EMS and who have been chosen to help guide the EMS and ensure its effectiveness and adequacy. The EMS Steering Committee is responsible for completing Management Reviews of the EMS at least annually.
EMS Team – Staff members from a particular department or facility at which the EMS is being implemented or has been implemented. These staff members are responsible for working with the ECR to ensure the EMS is properly implemented at the facility, taking into account all of the operations of the facility and the opinions of facility staff members.
EMS Training - awareness training to inform facility staff members what an EMS is, the importance of following EMS procedures, and how their job relates to the EMS.
Environmental Aspect - an element of an organization’s activities or products or services that can interact with the environment. Aspects should take into account the inputs and outputs (both intended and unintended) associated with activities, products, and services. Aspects should include normal operating conditions, abnormal conditions (ex.a spill), as well as foreseeable emergency situations. This can be though of as the ‘cause’ in ‘cause and effect.’ Example, electricity consumption for lighting a building and running all electrical equipment is an aspect. This impacts the environment in a number of ways including the consumption of nonrenewable fossil fuels, contributing to air pollution, and increases in greenhouse gasses. We can lessen our impact by reducing our consumption of electricity by using more energy efficient lighting and equipment, turning off equipment when not in use, and building more energy efficient buildings. Another example of a aspect is waste office paper. A postitive treatment of this waste would be recycling, while a negative way to handle it would be to send it to the landfill as waste.
Environmental Impact - Any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization’s environmental aspects. This can be thought of as the “effect” in “cause and effect”. As stated above, our consumption of electricity has a adverse impact on the environment.
Environmental or Safety Training - training required by regulations for staff whose job functions potentially expose them to environmental or safety hazards to inform staff how to properly handle certain materials, how to be safe on the job, and the potential environmental problems associated with improper job performance.
External communication – any communication regarding the EMS between a member of the University community and any outside interested party.
Facility – a term given to the portion of the University where the EMS is being implemented or has been implemented. A facility may be an actual facility, a department, or a particular office.
Facility EMS Manager – a person or several persons designated at a facility to manage the implementation of the EMS at that facility. The Facility EMS Manager is not necessarily the designated facility manager or supervisor.
Findings – the results of an EMS audit. An audit finding may be a nonconformance, an observation, or a commendation.
Internal communication–any communication between people in the same or various facilities, departments, or offices of the University concerning the University’s EMS.
Intelex – the software program used by the University to implement, monitor, and maintain the EMS. The software is based on ISO14001 Standards, although the University is not seeking ISO compliance status.
Legal requirements – any set of Federal, State, or local regulations or permits which apply to operations or activities at the University.
Management – any University employee selected to be on the EMS Steering Committee.
Management Review – an evaluation of the EMS by the chosen management (i.e. the Steering Commitee) to assess the effectiveness and performance of the EMS. The review process allows management to make changes to continually modify and improve the EMS.
Measuring – a systematic, quantitative method of evaluating key characteristics of a facility’s operations to determine regulatory conformance, EMS conformance or evaluate environmental performance. Measuring is also a quantitative way of assessing progress towards achieving objectives and targets.
Measuring and monitoring equipment – any equipment, instrument, or measurement device used to measure, monitor, or collect data used to assess environmental performance.
Monitoring - a systematic method of regulating, inspecting, or observing key characteristics of a facility’s operations to determine regulatory conformance, EMS conformance, or evaluate environmental performance. Monitoring is also a means of measuring the progress towards achieving objectives and targets.
Nonconformance - as relating to an EMS audit, an area of the EMS that does not comply with EMS standards, where the EMS falls short of meeting its goals, or where the EMS has not been properly implemented. Major nonconformances indicate that an EMS element is completely deficient or extremely inadequate. A minor nonconformance is an area where the EMS is not conformant with EMS standards in a trivial way. A minor nonconformance must be corrected but it does not mean the EMS is completely inadequate in that particular area. A minor nonconformance that is not corrected will be considered a major nonconformance during the subsequent audits.
Objective – a general environmentally related goal set by the University for its significant aspects and impacts.
Observation – as relating to an EMS audit, an area noted where the EMS could be improved or is lacking, but is not considered a nonconformance.
Obsolete Documents – any controlled document or manual that is no longer in use and no longer needed for the University’s EMS. Obsolete document records will be maintained in Intelex for recordkeeping purposes while physical copies obsolete documents will be recycled.
Old Documents – a document that may be rarely or infrequently used but must be kept active because the possibility exists that the document may be used in the future. For example, an operational manual for a piece of equipment that is no longer used because a new piece of equipment has replaced it is considered old. As long as the University owns the equipment and the potential exists for the equipment to be used, the manual must be kept even though it is old.
Other Requirements – any set of rules or guidelines to which the University voluntarily complies, but is not required by law to do so. Under the EMS, other requirements are viewed in the same manner as legal requirements.
Outside interested party – any individual or group outside the University community who is concerned with or may be affected by the University’s EMS or the University’s environmental impacts. These individuals or groups may include but are not limited to local governments, community organizations, local residents, local businesses, and regulatory agencies.
Preventative action - a proactive measure taken to prevent or mitigate potential problems at a facility before they happen or worsen. The goal of preventative action is to identify problem areas or negative trends at a facility and attend to them before they become significant.
Significance – the relative importance of an impact when compared to other impacts.
Significance Ranking Matrix – the set of criteria used to rank the relative significance of an aspect and impact. View UVa's Significance Ranking Matrix here.
Target – a detailed performance goal related to and supporting a specific objective. Targets will be measurable, where practical, and will apply to a specific part of the University.
Uncontrolled documents – documents that have no control techniques applied to the, do not require approval, and are not limited in their use. Uncontrolled documents or uncontrolled copies of controlled documents must not be used in performing EMS-related tasks.
Contact EHS with Environmental Management System related questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EHS Environmental Management System website questions or comments should be directed to Jess Wenger at email@example.com or 982-5540.