08/29/13 There is now a tool to help employers and employees understand heat situations and risk levels. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a Smartphone app that allows outdoor workers to calculate the heat index for their worksite and displays a risk level based on the heat index.
The app is free and available for both Android and iPhones and is available in English and Spanish. Users can tailor the app’s source code for their own purposes. The app and source code can be downloaded here, (Link: www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/heat_app.html) or through iTunes and Google Play.
Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. In 2011, 61 workers died nationally from heat-related injuries and illnesses. In the same year, Indiana workers experienced 100 cases of non-fatal injuries and illnesses related to heat exposure.
These illnesses and deaths are 100 percent preventable.
The tool also provides reminders about measures that should be taken at each risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness, spring through fall seasons. These reminders include:
- drinking enough fluids
- scheduling rest breaks
- planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency
- adjusting work operations
- gradually building up the workload for new workers
- training on heat illness signs and symptoms
- monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness
Employers and employees are strongly encouraged to learn about heat-related illnesses and take necessary precautions for prevention. For more information, visit OSHA’s heat illness website here.