App makes H&S law easy

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A health and safety app built by farmers for farmers is now available.
OnSide has launched New Zealand’s first completely online health and safety application for farmers, making it easier for them to comply with the new Health and Safety at Work Act. OnSide chief executive Ryan Higgs said it was a practical tool that contained all the key elements of a safety plan now required under the legislation. ‘‘Farmers can expect scrutiny around health and safety compliance to ramp up as the result of the act,’’ Mr Higgs said. ‘‘There was a real need in the industry to have an easy and cost-effective way to meet these requirements, and this is what we have created OnSide to provide.’’ OnSide enables farmers to develop their own health and safety plan by working through a prepopulated list of risks overlaid on a satellite map of their farm. Mr Higgs said farmers would save time but, most importantly, would havea simple way to make their employees and visitors aware of risks and how to manage them, which would improve farm safety. Contractors and visitors entering the farm would be prompted to sign in on a smartphone as they crossed a virtual geo-fence. They would be presented with any risks to review and acknowledge before signing in.
Risks could be updated by the farmer in real time and visitors could report new risks or incidents on their phone. All information was stored in the cloud, avoiding the need for mountains of paperwork. The system also has offline capability, so it could be used by farmers in areas with poor cellular service. OnSide’s mapping technology allowed farmers to set out their farm boundaries and use photos rather than written descriptions to show risks. The app also allowed anyone on the farm to quickly and easily access instructions for emergencies in real time. ‘‘We’ve been listening to farmers, collaborating with health and safety experts and leaders in the rural sector, as well as our technology partner, Jade Software, to ensure OnSide meets farmers’ needs,’’ Mr Higgs said. ‘We’ve spent months conducting on-farm research and have run a trial with 50 farmers, as we’ve brought our vision to life.’’ Jade chief innovation officer John Ascroft said it had been exciting working with OnSide’s team of leaders with a clear vision of simplifying health and safety compliance. ‘‘Our design experts worked with OnSide to flesh out their idea and rapidly prototype models of how the app could work. From there our delivery team built the production version of the software, and our business and marketing teams kicked into create a compelling brand identity and market presence for OnSide.’’
Mr Higgs said Jade’s knowledge and expertise was invaluable throughout the process.