NIOSH and OSHA recently announced an update to their OSHA Heat Safety Tool app for Android and iOS mobile devices. The update is part of a larger OSHA initiative to increase heat stress awareness and prevention throughout the hot summer months. The app can be downloaded for free and provides workers and supervisors a way to measure and predict heat index at their job site throughout a work day.
Heat Index at Everyone's Fingertips
Using location-based information, the app provides users with real-time data on the temperature, humidity percentage, and heat index at their location. Identifying the heat risk is simple; there's a section for the current risk level and a prediction of what to expect throughout the day. The Heat Safety Tool is available in both English and Spanish.
A color-coded background warns of the risk level at a glance of an eye.
According to John Howard, M.D., the director of NIOSH, the app is designed to put valuable heat measurement numbers in the hands of both employers and workers (CDC 2017). It also provides life-saving information on when to take breaks, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, and first aid response.
How to install
The app is free and can be downloaded by anyone with an Android or iOS powered device. If you're viewing this blog from either, click the appropriate button below to download.
Keeping workers safe in the heat
Of all weather-related hazards, extreme heat exposure causes the most deaths and accounts for more than 65,000 medical cases a year (CDC 2017).
Besides monitoring heat conditions, train your workers to identify signs of heat stress in other workers. Take frequent breaks, drink plenty of fluids with minimal caffeine, and implement work-rest cycles to ensure safety over the course of a day. If a worker is unacquainted with certain conditions, slowly acclimatize them to the temperature and humidity level with a gradual workload.
Remember, it doesn't have to be summer to be affected by heat stress. Heat stress can occur during all seasons, indoors or outdoors, especially whenever hot temperatures or stagnant air is present.
CDC (2017) NIOSH and OSHA Introduce Improved Heat Safety App for Outdoor Workers. Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/niosh-and-osha-introduce-improved-heat-safety-app-for-outdoor-workers-300469837.html