Nationwide Debuts Grain Storage Safety Training App

July 31, 2017

2 Min Read
Nationwide Debuts Grain Storage Safety Training App
A screenshot from the new Nationwide Hazard Spotter app for grain storage workers. Image courtesy of Nationwide Insurance

Attempting to revamp grain storage safety training for millennial workers and other employees, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company recently introduced an app for mobile phones that helps users identify common grain handling and storage safety hazards.

The Hazard Spotter app leads workers through various simulated scenarios and then ranks their performance based on the completion of the task, filling out documentation, their capacity to identify grain hazards, and whether or not they use equipment correctly.

“The main benefit of this app is that it’s realistic,” Jason Berkland, a senior consultant at Nationwide’s Risk Management Services who helped develop the app, said in a July 10 press release. “For example, you could die from suffocation or the elevator could explode. That’s why this takes place in a virtual reality – versus real life.”

Users begin the training session in a farm co-op’s office and receive work assignments like housekeeping, preventative maintenance, or hot work. The worker must then select the right personal protective equipment and carry out the assigned tasks.

“This app turns your smartphone into a portable training device,” said Steve Simmons, associate vice president of Nationwide’s Risk Management business, in a statement. “The goal is to reinforce proper steps learned in training until they become a habit. It may sound easy, but Hazard Spotter intentionally offers wrong tools and equipment based on real-life claims. Our hope is that if users are going to make mistakes, they do them in the app – and not in real life.”

Nationwide said the catalyst for the app’s development was a surge in workers compensation claims resulting from grain elevator-related incidents from $10 million in 2009 to about $20 million in 2016. The insurer said property incurred losses from grain elevators also spiked during the same period, growing from $24 million in 2009 to over $34 million last year.

Key Cooperative of Iowa helped Nationwide to pilot test the app. The app is available for both iPhone and Android platforms.

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