RC14001: Headquarters Certified by YE2005

Since 1988, the U.S. chemical industry, through the American Chemistry Council, has implemented Responsible Care, a voluntary program to achieve improvements in environmental, health, and safety performance beyond the levels required by the U.S. government. The program has resulted in:

  • significant reductions in releases to air, land, and water;
  • major improvements in workplace and community safety; and
  • expanded programs to research and test chemicals for potential health and environmental impacts.

The Responsible Care Management System provides a structured framework to help companies assess their needs, set specific performance goals, and share their progress with the public. A key component of the management system is mandatory certification by independent, accredited auditing firms.

Every Responsible Care company is required to certify that a management system has been put in place and must demonstrate progress toward improved performance. To obtain certification, companies undergo headquarters and facility audits conducted by independent, accredited auditing firms.

Companies may choose from two certification options:

(1) RCMS certification, which verifies that a company has implemented the Responsible Care Management System; or
(2) RC14001 certification, which combines RCMS and ISO 14001 into a single, more cost-effective process.

All Responsible Care companies are required to have completed headquarters certification by December 31, 2005, and initial facility certification by December 31, 2007. Thereafter, certification will be renewed every three years. A new cycle of certification audits will begin in 2008.

A combined certification audit option (Headquarters and Facility Combined Audit) is available only to small companies with headquarters and facilities that are “co-located” or that have headquarters with “minimal” Responsible Care activities. This audit option must be completed by December 31, 2006.

The Responsible Care 14001 Management System Technical Specification aligns Responsible Care Codes of Management Practices elements with those from ISO 14001, helping companies to better understand what is needed to meet the requirements of both standards.

RC14001:2005 was issued this year to incorporate the changes in ISO 14001:2004. In addition, RC14001:2005 added new security requirements. The EMS has expanded to become an “Environmental, Health, Safety, and Security” Management System. Responsible Care organizations must now perform security vulnerability assessments to consider the intentional or willful impact to the environment, health, or safety.

To order single user copies (Product ID# 610474D), call ACC’s Store at 301-617-7824 or order online under Software-Responsible Care. For multi-user or multi-site copies, call ACC’s Publications Manager at 703-486-2992.

The Responsible Care 14001 Management System Technical Specification (RC14001) also readily permits accredited registrars to evaluate a company’s system against both sets of requirements in a single audit process, issuing a special Responsible Care ISO 14001 certificate. For more information, go to the ACC web site at <http://www.americanchemistry.com> and the RC web site at: <http://www.responsiblecare-us.com>.