Meet Hanna Barber – QA and WH&S Coordinator

Based in Tasmania Hannah Barber is Staphyt Australasia’s new Quality Assurance (QA) and Workplace Health &Safety (WH&S) Coordinator.  In the few short months since starting in November 2020, Hannah has grasped the Agroscience field with gusto.  Adapting her previous knowledge of Quality Compliance in the dairy industry to Agroscience. 

We asked Hannah some questions to let her introduce herself to you. 
What is your role at Staphyt? 

As the QA and WH&S Coordinator, I work closely with the Study Directors and GLP team to make sure that trials conducted follow the quality system and comply with NATA and IANZ GLP requirements, whilst meeting the client/sponsor needs. My main objective is to ensure all studies adhere to GLP compliance from the commencement of a Study, to final reporting and sign off. 

What are you most looking forward to in the role? 

I am looking forward to the opportunity to travel, expand my knowledge in the agriculture industry, improve the current quality system, and develop a safe and happy work environment for the Staphyt team. 

Where has your study and career taken you until now?

My Career in Quality Assurance commenced in 2012 with Tamar Valley Dairy, now known as Parmalat. During the 7 years I was with Tamar Valley, I was involved in multiple areas of quality compliance; equipment calibration programs, microbiological testing, training of the manufacturing staff around GMP Principles and Quality Compliance Systems, and conducting site auditing and corrective action reviews. 

In 2019, I moved to the sunny North West Coast of Tasmania and obtained employment as the QA Manager with a fiberglass company that is involved in the manufacturing of Defence components, along with other Industrial projects. I worked closely with the Engineering team to develop a robust Quality control system and implement ISO9001 into the company.

Was moving into Agrosciences an easy transition from what industry you were in before?

Previous experience in executing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) at Parmalat made for an easy transition into the Agricultural industry.   GLP, GCP, and GMP regulations all exist to ensure that the processes they govern are held to high scientific and ethical standards. Both the Dairy and Agricultural industry follow similar processes, adhering to SOPs while testing and analyzing samples. Quality plays a vital role in any industry, ensuring that the appropriate quality control and quality assurance measures in place are to a high standard whilst meeting client/sponsor satisfaction.

What led you to pursuing a role with Staphyt?

Agriculture plays a vital role in the economy. The world relies on its farms and agricultural activities in order to survive. Quality assurance is essential for making sure products (pesticides, fungicides, insecticides etc) are fit for purpose. I have always been passionate about farming and the use of chemicals that are of a high standard for the consumer, as both my Grandparents and brother have invested in farming land.

Quality assurance is all about ‘good practice’. I believe working at Staphyt to improve the current processes whilst adhering to GLP will not only challenge me, but will also be rewarding. I believe the goals I have within the quality department and the long-term goals of the company align.

Can you describe an average day at work for you?

My day starts with a coffee whilst I check my emails for any new study plans and reports that require review or auditing.

In between GLP team discussions, I write up audit reports, check responses to the audits and write up the final reports. If a WH&S query hits my desk it is dealt with promptly as safety along with quality has always been high on my priority list in the work environment. Some days I am inundated with Study Plans to audit and my days are filled with checking, cross-checking, making sure GLP requirements are met and traceability is maintained. When I am not auditing, which is a rarity, I am reviewing and updating SOP’s and documents to ensure GLP requirements are met.  I also spend time providing independent assurance to management making sure all systems and processes comply with regulations, and that study data submitted to government assessors is accurate, valid, and of sound integrity.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges in your job?

Quality always has its fair share of challenges. Culture change is always one of the biggest challenges I have faced in my quality career. Improving processes, implementing new procedures, and updating documentation to meet compliance is one aspect. Monitoring people adhering to the procedures and resistance to change is possibly something that will be a big challenge. This can generally be overcome with good communication, training, and support from upper management.

What brings you the greatest satisfaction in your work?

  • Working with a team of professionals to produce high quality outcomes for the client/sponsor.
  • Identifying and investigating quality issues that may arise in order to make improvements, achieving better results for both the client/sponsor and company.

Hannah Barber on duty in Darwin 2017 – Hannah Barber and dog Sasha