News and Events

5 minutes with Katrina Berry

General Manager – Safety and Wellbeing, Farmlands.

Katrina has been with Farmlands for a year and leads the advancement of safety and wellbeing across the organisation. Katrina was responsible for the development of Farmlands’ new tool – the SafeVisit app – which launched last month.

Who do you have in your team?

We are a team of four and our job is to support Farmlands in managing risk, ensuring compliance and doing right by our people.

What do you love the most about your role?

I love working with our shareholders and this has really brought my job to life. For instance, the SafeFarm app was tested on farms by shareholders last year and is helping hundreds of New Zealand farmers to manage safety more effectively.

We are so connected with our shareholders and this helps us to produce tools that can make a real difference to reducing harm on farms in New Zealand. That is raw, it is real and it’s so important.

What appealed to you about working at Farmlands?

I grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Otorohanga, so it is like coming home for me. The main appeal for me though was the opportunity to work in a place where it’s in the organisational DNA to care. It’s easy to have a conversation about safety when people care about each other.

Tell us about the SafeFarm app software launch in September – what was your role in that project?

I was responsible for the technical development of the SafeFarm app, in conjunction with FarmIQ, which was a 6 month project all up. The FarmIQ platform already existed but we enhanced it considerably to suit shareholder needs within a rural environment and to support New Zealand’s legal requirements. We did rigorous testing too – shareholders tried it out on-farm before we launched it. It was important that it not only supported legal requirements but it was robust and followed best practice.

I wasn’t prepared to be involved with something that wasn’t fit-for-purpose. I’m also really pleased that it is free for Farmlands shareholders and easy-touse. To my knowledge, it is the first software tool of its kind that is available at no cost to the user. It is designed so that people can learn how to use it on their own – so really, there’s no reason why farmers shouldn’t download it and start protecting themselves and others.

What is the difference between SafeFarm and the new SafeVisit app?

The SafeFarm app enables total farm management of Health and Safety. It is based on the successful FarmIQ platform and caters specifically to farmers and farm managers. We’re stoked to be able to provide this management and insight tool free to Farmlands shareholders.

SafeVisit is the second application in the Health and Safety suite of farm management software. This is a fantastic app. It enables safety-critical information to be exchanged between the farmer and visitors or contractors, seamlessly and easily. Important safety messages can be shared, such as incident or hazard/risk reporting.

This is free to everyone and we will be communicating this widely to industry organisations, so that their employee’s safety is considered while visiting farms.

How does the SafeVisit tool work?

With the 2015 Health and Safety at Work Act, this tool helps to cover the farmer and minimise risks by way of communicating, raising awareness and sharing responsibility.

Features and functions of the app include:

  • Visits can be scheduled and visitors complete a Health and Safety induction using their mobile device before entering the farm.
  • It notifies visitors of any logged hazards, a view of the property map and any safety instructions.
  • Digital records of induction completion and acknowledgement.
  • GPS tracking of visitors when on-site (subject to network connectivity).
  • Sign-in and sign-out notifications.
  • New hazard notification, including a visitor’s ability to notify the farmer of a risk.
  • Notification if a visitor is still on property after they were scheduled to leave.

How do people get SafeVisit?

Anyone can get the SafeVisit app for free. It is designed to be self-teaching, with videos and tutorials to help. Users can simply download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play and create an account. Farmers will need to set themselves up on SafeFarm first in order to use SafeVisit – SafeFarm can also be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Some people view safety personnel as the “fun police”.

What do you say to that?

Safety makes good business sense. Businesses that manage safety well are more productive and more competitive. Good safety management is an enabler, not a barrier. It’s not about taking away the fun, it’s actually about caring for each other. In rural communities, where people can be isolated, they look out for each other.

And that’s what we do at Farmlands. It’s as much about wellbeing and mental health as it is about safety. Just as rural neighbours check in on each other, Farmlands stores are visible community hubs. So, we need to be part of the rural wellbeing conversation as much as we can.

You’ve worked in challenging environments before – how have those experiences helped you here?

Working up through the Health and Safety ranks at the Department of Corrections for 10 years was useful as it is geographically spread out, like Farmlands. I learned that collaboration and relationships are key. By positively influencing people to do the right thing because they want to – that is a game changer. I also worked at Christchurch Airport for 7 years and like Farmlands, it is complex in the number of people who need to work together. We not only had to manage employees and tenants but the public as well. I was there when we built the new terminal and throughout the seismic activity.

It was often a construction site, so we all had to work together to keep the doors open, no matter what. In the aviation industry, there is an acceptance that good people make mistakes, so leaders are always assessing how they can build systems and processes to mitigate human error. Coming from this “no-tolerance” approach to safety has definitely informed my work at Farmlands.