A woman everyone has to deal with
Martina Kvaltínová, who has held the position of Environmental Manager at the Vaillant Group Skalica plant in Slovakia for six years. Day after day, she strives to ensure that the company’s sustainability targets are implemented at the site: a diverse task that requires great mental agility – and a fair level of physical fitness.
“I have daily contact with a wide range of departments within the company”
Martina Kvaltínová has held the position of Occupational Safety and Environmental Manager for six years. Her job is to enable our plant in Skalica to achieve the sustainability targets in the focal area Environment – including through sustainable production. She is also tasked with protecting staff health and preventing accidents. Her busy diary reflects the huge scope of her duties. After all, she is the point of contact for many different people: she consults with all the managers in the plant, the people in charge of production, colleagues from other plants, staff responsible for sustainability management within the Vaillant Group and, of course, external service providers and state authorities.
Ms Kvaltínová, what time does your working day begin?
Martina Kvaltínová: I enter my office with a cup of coffee at 7.30 a.m., boot up my computer, get the things I need for the day and prepare for my first meeting.
What time was your first meeting today?
Martina Kvaltínová: 8 a.m. Safety and environmental training for new employees. This covered safety regulations and transportation routes within the plant, emergency measures and how to correctly separate rubbish. It all sounds a bit dry, but these are things that everyone has to know about.
So you are not just responsible for environmental matters then?
Martina Kvaltínová: Not at all. I also deal with occupational health and safety. It is our duty to avoid accidents and prevent health issues. I make sure that all workstations and the plant as a whole comply with strict rules.
How do you conduct your assessments?
Martina Kvaltínová: By using a standardised procedure with checklists. The things to be inspected differ from one department to the next of course. Other members of staff often help me out. For example, I work with the company doctor to assess whether new workstations fulfil the protective regulations, and when I conduct internal lab audits, members of the Quality Assurance department assist me. Some specifications are even standardised on an international level. For example the criteria established by the environmental management standard EN ISO 14001 and the occupational health and safety management standard OHSAS 18001.
So you basically just tick a box and then the matter is dealt with?
Martina Kvaltínová: It’s not quite that simple. All key points have to pass checks time and time again. I hold regular meetings with the departmental managers in which we look at all the important topics, conduct analyses, discuss proposals for improvement, document the results on the intranet and notify the relevant members of staff so that the measures can be immediately implemented.
It is certainly a diverse job and the topics you deal must be interesting.
Martina Kvaltínová: Usually, yes. But not always...
What do you not really find interesting?
Martina Kvaltínová: I struggle to get excited about lighting(laughs). Perhaps it would be different if we had beautiful chandeliers. Two days ago, I spoke to suppliers about new lights for the Administration department. The question of how more energy can be saved was naturally important, but we also want to improve the working environment by providing the optimum lighting conditions. Light is extremely important for all activities. After our discussions, we took a tour to assess the precise requirements.
You are responsible for implementing the sustainability targets in Skalica. How or to whom do you report the progress of the activities here in the plant?
Martina Kvaltínová: I am in constant contact with Claudia Altenrath from the Central Sustainability Management department in Remscheid. We hold regular telephone conferences in which we talk about the projects, discuss the results and find out about the latest news from the Sustainability Management department. Ms Altenrath also visits the site on a regular basis. And I occasionally travel to Bergisches Land to visit the Vaillant Group head office.
You have practically put the words in my mouth for my last question: which do you prefer, the Remscheid site or the Remscheid-Lennep site?
Martina Kvaltínová: (laughs) You really are a true insider aren’t you? I am not going to fall for that question though! The Remscheid site is the traditional and deep-rooted home of the Vaillant Group. For me as an Environmental Manager, the plant at the head office site is naturally of particular interest.
You could have had a very promising career as a diplomat! Thank you for the interview.