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Plan Do Check Act

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Figure 1. The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)

Plan–Do–Check–Act (PDCA) is the iterative process that NEMS uses for continuous improvement of environmental performance at NIH. PDCA is a successful management practice across many disciplines, and NEMS applies PDCA within the framework of ISO 14001, the international standard for Environmental Management Systems. PDCA provides a process for NIH to “Plan” environmental improvements, “Do” the operational activities necessary for improvement, “Check” the results of those activities, and “Act” upon those results, returning to the Plan stage when necessary to repeat in further iterations.

Plan - NEMS Planning

The Planning phase involves reviewing our environmental policy and commitments, identifying the current activities we perform that may affect the environment, setting environmental objectives to manage the impacts of these activities, and then designing effective programs to ensure that objectives are met. NEMS documents and programs related to the planning phase include:

Do – NEMS Implementation and Operation

In the Implementation and Operation Phase, the responsible NIH teams and groups take actions needed to ensure that environmental objectives are met. They review, develop, and communicate procedures and provide training to reduce the risk of activities causing an environmental impact.

Check - NEMS Checking and Corrective Action

The checking and corrective action phase of the NEMS involves assessing environmental compliance and the effectiveness of the NEMS. These audits examine how the overall system is performing. The NIH/ORF Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducts both environmental compliance and NEMS audits. NEMS documents and records related to the checking and corrective action phase include audit program documents, audit reports, and corrective and preventive actions.

Act - NEMS Management and Review

In the Management Review phase, NIH management reaffirms their commitment to the NEMS and identifies improvements. Audits and other aspects of the Check phase may reveal weaknesses in the system and root cause analysis will suggest corrective actions to fix any problems. The NEMS Program Manager along with Environmental Program Leads and other NIH Staff will make system adjustments identified in the management review in the next cycle of the NEMS. Repeating the NEMS cycle ensures the continual improvement of NIH environmental performance and the on-going refinement of the NEMS system itself.

For NIH Employees

NEMS Awareness Training. (opens in a new window). Click "Next" to advance the training. This course takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

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