Updated June 29, 2010



Management systems in general include means and methods used to conform and/or standardize operations and activities. MIT's EHS management system is designed around Federal, State and local environmental, health and safety (EHS) regulations and good EHS practices in a university setting. Various documents as identified below, describe our approach and operational procedures concerning EHS matters.


Policy Pyrimid

A policy is an overall plan embracing the general goals and acceptable procedures. Policies are used to guide and determine present and future decisions and therefore influence the content and scope of documents in the lower levels of the document tier.

Manual/ Directives/ Plans

The EHS-MS Manual contained on this web site is a high-level view of the system components. Directives and Plans are usually authoritative documents issued by a senior administrative body or official, e.g. Environmental Programs/ EHS Headquarters Office (EP/EHO). These documents serve to direct, guide and usually impel actions or goals.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)/ Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs)

SOPs and SOGs supplement established manuals, directives or plans. SOPs, like SOGs, are issued on an as-needed basis and may be periodically updated to include any required revisions. SOPs and SOGs may be issued by a DLC; they may also require a general consensus with all levels of the organization.

  • SOPs provide an accepted or established method for accomplishing something or of acting. Procedures usually require a strict adherence to a series of steps followed in a regular definite order.
  • SOGs provided a recommended way or course of action that should be taken to achieve a particular end.

Memoranda/ Forms/ Instructions

Although these documents may be different in content, they are similar in that they are frequently issued and do not require prior approval from a high-level body or official (unless it deviates from established documents in the higher levels of the document tiers). These documents are usually issued from mid- to lower-levels of the organization.

  • Instructions are usually an outline or manual of technical procedures
  • Forms are usually documents used to obtain specific information
  • Memoranda are usually a written reminder or a notification of proposed actions/ goals and my even be used as an informal record.

Records/ Audit Findings/ Corrective Actions

These documents are periodically assessed and/or may be made available to the public. All levels of the organization may generate these documents.

  • Records furnish written evidence and may include an authentic official copy of a document.
  • Audit Findings provide conclusions resulting from any audits; audits serve to determine compliance with the written objectives and requirements, including SOPs.
  • Corrective Actions provide guidance for any corrective measure that should be taken after an audit and that will be evaluated in an upcoming audit.