( Images courtesy Western Growers )

Western Growers, Irvine, Calif., has created digital, wearable technology to help employers with COVID-19 health screenings and record-keeping.

“Ultimately, the goal is to promote a positive safety culture and make sure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day,” said Ken Cooper, director of risk strategy for Western Grower Insurance Services, representing growers, packers and shippers in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

The software is primarily used as an app on cell phones worn on workers’ belts, but it can also be used on tablets.

Work began on the technology three years ago in an effort to reduce worker-compensation injuries and increase safety, Cooper said.

Worn at the waist during the workday, the platform, known as the Western Growers Connected Workers Program, can track an employee’s bends and twists, record body temperature and provide a health symptom questionnaire before work begins. The app gives a daily risk score, which can be compared to other employees and teams, creating a healthy competition in the company culture, he said.

“We developed a wearable device to track movements on a targeted basis for muscular-skeletal injury prevention, like farmwork. We took that platform and added in COVID-response capabilities,” Cooper said.

The technology can help employers adapt to changing guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he said.

“If you have an outbreak, the tech in the phone allows that traceback to occur for root-cause analysis to really take action at your location. But hopefully nobody needs to use this feature if you already are using this tech,” he said.

For more information, contact Cooper at 805-718-9403 or [email protected]

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