With the technology based world we live in, many of our grandparents’ problems can be fixed with an app these days. That is no different for heat illness for farm workers. Apple demonstrated its Apple Watch heath based capabilities by featuring “Calor,” a new app aimed at protecting rural farm workers toiling in summer fields picking the nation’s fruits and vegetables.
Calor, conceptualized and created by 18-year-old Faith Florez, alerts farm workers about their health in hot weather. From 1992 through 2016, exposure to excessive environmental heat killed 783 U.S. workers and injured over 69,000 workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Farm workers are especially vulnerable because they are often poor and are afraid to take the breaks for water and shade that they are entitled to.
The app alerts the workers of weather conditions, when to hydrate, and a reminder to take legally mandated break. In addition, it will send the workers educational videos about what to wear, eat, and drink to prepare for a shift in the fields. Most importantly, the app also functions as an emergency hotline to 911 if a worker is in need of medical assistance in often remote fields.
Florez spent her childhood in Shafter, California, a small farming community in the Central Valley. The USC freshman is descended from farm workers, and her great-grandmother died of heat illness.
“Being able to create Calor is meaningful for me and my family. I have always heard about the dangers in the fields from my elders, and my great-grandma paid the ultimate sacrifice for her work. I want to make sure that other families don’t have to endure that pain and that workers do not have to sacrifice their health for their work,” Florez said.
Every step taken to a safer work environment is a step in the right direction. In agriculture, we look forward to new technology that can help us achieve our goals.