The purpose of this work was to design and assess an effective approach for a small or medium size organization to determine appropriate operational controls for its significant environmental aspects as part of developing and implementing an ISO 14001- type environmental management system. This new approach was determined to be necessary due to the generic nature and broad applicability of the ISO 14001 standard, the lack of appropriate methodology in the professional literature, and the lack of related knowledge and ability in most small or medium sized organizations. As controlling and influencing operations is a vital characteristic of an effective environmental management system, currently available federal and state guidance manuals for small or medium size environmental management systems were reviewed to determine the support that they provided in this area. Unfortunately, these guidance manuals lacked specific direction for identifying potential operational controls. Working with six organizations participating in the Monroe County Strategic Environmental Management Initiative, a new approach was developed and utilized to determine appropriate operational controls for each organization's significant environmental aspects as part of its environmental management system development and implementation. This approach employed the use of: 1) An Operational Control Flowchart (developed for this thesis); 2) Decision Block Descriptions for the Operational Control Flowchart (developed in support of the Operational Control Flowchart); and 3) A cost-benefit analysis. Additionally, it was found that identifying and evaluating operational controls for one obvious environmental aspect in each organization before the organization's environmental aspects were competitively evaluated for significance, provided a convincing example for skeptical participants and enhanced the EMS implementation process. The new approach began by first identifying potential operational controls for all identified significant aspects. Next, a practical cost-benefit analysis was performed for each of the potential operational controls before finalizing performance objectives and targets. As the potential operational controls were found to provide an economic as well as an environmental benefit, the MCSEMI participating organizations were eager to implement them and take advantage of the cost and environmental benefits.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Monroe County Strategic Environmental Management Initiative (N.Y.); Small business--Environmental aspects--Management; Environmental protection--Management--Case studies; Environmental protection--Management--Cost effectiveness; ISO 14001 Standard--New Yo
Department, Program, or Center
Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CAST)
Collins, Dawn, "An Approach to operational control determination for the small or medium size organization" (2003). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus