Heat-index app aims to prevent heat-related illnesses
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is making available a free application for mobile devices that will enable workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. With the information from the app, work crews can avoid and prevent heat-related illnesses.
The app, available in English and Spanish, combines heat index data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the user’s location to determine necessary protective measures. Based on the risk level of the heat index, the app provides users with information about precautions they may take, such as drinking fluids, taking rest breaks and adjusting work operations.
With the app, users can review the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses, and learn about first aid steps to take in an emergency. Information for supervisors is available through the app on how to gradually build up the workload for new workers, as well as how to train employees on heat illness signs and symptoms. Additionally, users can contact OSHA directly through the app.
The app is designed for devices using an Android platform. A version of the app for BlackBerry and iPhone users will be released shortly. Here is the download link for the app.
“Summer heat presents a serious issue that affects some of the most vulnerable workers in our country, and education is crucial to keeping them safe,” said U.S Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Heat-related illnesses are preventable. This new app is just one way the Labor Department is getting that message out.”
More than 30 workers died from heat stroke in 2010 in the U.S. Thousands become ill from heat exhaustion and other heat illnesses every year. Some of the highest illness rates occur among construction workers, farmworkers, roofers, landscapers, baggage handlers and other air transportation workers.
Employers and workers can go here for information about using the heat index to calculate and address risks posed to workers. The information is available through OSHA’s web-based tool “Using the Heat Index: Employer Guidance.”
OSHA’s other educational and training tools about heat illnesses prevention, available in English and Spanish, can be found here.
“OSHA’s prevention message is clear: Water. Rest. Shade. These are three little words that make a big difference for outdoor workers during the hot summer months,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.