Automatic safety app for farms


A Canterbury, New Zealand farmer has developed a new phone app to keep farm workers safe in one of the most dangerous working environments, using GPS technology to alert workers to any dangers around them. The app is called OnSide. Source: Newshub

This online health and safety app is for farmers to make compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 easier.

It enables farmers to develop their own health and safety plan by working through a pre-populated list of risks overlaid on a satellite map of their farm, chief executive Ryan Higgs said.

Contractors and visitors who enter the farm are prompted to sign in on a smartphone as they crossed a virtual “geo-fence”.

They are presented with any risks to review and acknowledge before signing in.

Risks can be updated by the farmer and visitors can report risks or incidents by phone.

All information os stored in the cloud, avoiding the need for “mountains of paperwork”.

The system had offline capability so it could be used by farmers in areas with poor cellular service.

OnSide’s mapping technology allowed farmers to map farm boundaries and use photographs to show risks, rather than write descriptions.

It allowed anyone on the farm to quickly and easily access instructions for emergencies.

The phone and web app is designed by farm-manager-turned-app-developer Ryan Higgs.

“You’ve always got a mobile on you so you can look at your mobile, look at the map, look at the risks around you,” he said.

More people are killed in the agricultural sector than any other – 20 died on farms in 2014.

From unpredictable animals to heavy machinery, there are numerous ways to get injured on the job.

“We’re looking after a team of five staff and to me it’s really important that they all get home safe to their families,” Ms Woodward said. “The last thing I want to do is to have to make a phone call.”

The app does away with paper completely, overhauling the sign-in process for visiting contractors.

Walk onto the farm and a satellite picks you up, and the app alerts you to any nearby risks.

There are 30 to 40 risks on average on New Zealand farms.