The farm safety app aims to reduce accidents

The farm safety app aims to reduce accidents

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Caroline Scott, a PhD student from Limavady, has designed an app to reduce farm accidents

  • author, Kieron Turish
  • Role, BBC News is

A PhD student from Limavady has designed an app to reduce accidents on the farm.

The idea came to Carolyn Scott because her grandfather Jim was accidentally poisoned in the 1970s.

He was using a potato sprinkler, and it exploded, covering him in chemicals.

Although he survived after spending several weeks in hospital, he had persistent lung problems until his death.

“This is one of the reasons I developed this Farm Safety app,” she said.

“I’m excited to help reduce accidents on the farm.”

Image source, Carolyn Scott

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Carolyn’s grandfather Jim was accidentally poisoned on the farm in the 1970s

Caroline lives just outside Limavady and grew up on a sheep farm.

“There are kids on farms, living on farms and being given small tasks on the farm — that doesn’t happen in other industries,” she said.

“Farmers also often work alone, they work long hours with machinery and with animals and this brings with them their own risks.”

This means a “tailored approach” to agriculture is needed that has not been explored in other industries, Caroline said.

She said that the application she is developing focuses on safety and tries to reduce farm accidents.

It will also address the health and well-being of farmers.

“They work very long hours and are often isolated, and I look to security to try to protect the farm machinery and farm animals,” she said.

Image source, Mary Hunter

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Mary Hunter of the Ulster Farmers’ Union says anything to avoid farm accidents is welcome

Mary Hunter of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) welcomed the initiative.

“It is a big concern actually that farm accidents happen because of hazards on the farm and these accidents can happen for example with tractors, machinery, falls, animals, electrocution and toxic gases,” she said.

“So we are very concerned about these incidents – in fact they have doubled this year compared to last year.”

“Anything that can avoid accidents on the farm would be very welcome indeed,” she added.

‘A very dangerous workplace’

Ms Hunter said the farm was a workplace that could be “very dangerous”.

“One aspect is the age of the workforce – for example in agriculture now the average age is 59 – and the other aspect of this is about children.

“In no other industry would children be allowed into the workplace, but in agriculture of course there are farm buildings and farm houses in the yard.”

Ms Hunter said the UFU now had a training department focusing on accident prevention.

Image source, Brian Munson

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Brian Munson says the Farm Safety Partnership is very impressed with the app

Brian Munson, from NI’s Health and Safety Executive, said the app had the potential to help farmers and their families “prevent accidents and ill health”.

“We are keen to explore how we can support it moving forward.”

It’s all about taking a modern approach to an old problem – farm safety, Carolyn Scott said.

“It’s all about bringing agriculture into the 21st century.

“Everyone now has smartphones in their back pockets, so they bring that information to farmers when they need it.

“So, it will be giving advice on a lot of areas, for example, lambing season at the moment; it will be giving advice about babies on the farm and slurry risks, and that will come in the form of push notifications so you’ll get an initial notification that comes to your phone and it will be a reminder and all of that just To try to reduce farm accidents.

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