Electro Terminal has recently been audited and certified by Quality Austria. Apart from the ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management audits, the company has also been upgraded from OHSAS 18001 to the brand-new ISO 45001 standard on Occupational Health and Safety Management.

In the following interview, Franz Kaltenbrunner talks about the new standard, the "STOP" principle and his audit experiences with Electro Terminal.

At the audit, we were told that Electro Terminal was one of the first companies certified according to ISO 45001. Can you confirm this?

Electro Terminal's 45001:2018 certificate ranks in 58th place of all certificates awarded by Quality Austria worldwide. In total, there will be far more than 5,000 transitions from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 within the next three years just in Austria. Electro Terminal belongs to the first per cent of those organizations having implemented the new standard.

In a nutshell: What are the main differences to OHSAS 18001?

ISO 45001 is the first global standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management. The structure is the same as that of all modern ISO system standards enabling the complete integration into quality and environmental management systems. This was only partly possible with the OHSAS 18001 standard. The ISO 45001 requires the fulfillment of the STOP principle for the avoidance of occupational health and safety risks. The substitution (S) of hazardous activities has top priority, followed by technical (T) and organizational (O) solutions. At the very end, there is the personal safety equipment (P).

How was the collaboration with Electro Terminal during the audit?

The collaboration during the audit was characterized by utmost openness. Together, we looked for potential areas of improvement. This created additional value for Electro Terminal far beyond the evaluation of conformity. Last September, more employees than ever were actively involved in the audit process. An increasing number of people moved from "being audited" to actively participating in the audit. It goes without saying that this increases the knowledge of the organization with regard to all quality and environmental ISO standards implemented through the Integrated Management System.

Which requirements of the new standard have been particularly well met by Electro Terminal?

Defining stakeholder requirements and expectations and implementing appropriate measures in the organization is a new challenge for many ISO 45001 companies. Electro Terminal has been closely collaborating with AUVA for many years and has also been providing AUVA, MCI and bfi with further trainings at Electro Terminal. Management systems including ISO 45001 are supposed to support companies with their strategy. Electro Terminal holds regular strategy management meetings. By providing information on the current business and other crucial changes in the organization to the management team, the Managing Director is creating a best practice model of assuming managerial responsibility.

What will Electro Terminal need to consider in the future? 

"Operational blindness" is hazardous to all health and safety management systems. Therefore, regular inspections and the consistent and quick implementation of "small" improvements are a must. Quite rightly, management is strongly demanding cleanliness and tidiness as a prerequisite for safety. The Cleanliness – Tidiness – Safety principle cannot be inflicted on the staff. Every employee has to engage responsibly and proactively.

At Electro Terminal, professional Quality and Occupational Health & Safety tools have been implemented during the last few years. These methods should be applied more intensely in the area of occupational safety in the future. Electro Terminal has all the know-how it takes to do that.