NIOSH, OSHA update heat safety app for outdoor workers
Washington – NIOSH and OSHA recently teamed up to update a heat safety mobile app that uses temperature and humidity to measure heat index values.
The redesigned app is intended to be a resource for outdoor workers exposed to heat on the job.
“With the hot summer months on our doorstep, this app is a valuable tool for employers and workers to help prevent heat-related illnesses,” NIOSH Director John Howard said in a June 7 press release. “In many cases, workers rely on their employers to provide opportunities for taking rest breaks and drinking water. This app puts lifesaving information at the fingertips of both supervisors and workers to inform them when they need to take precautions to stay safe at the worksite.”
The free app, an updated version of OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool, uses geolocation technology to assess the current heat index and risk level, and also offers projected heat indices throughout the workday. Users receive specific recommendations for staying safe based on those levels.
According to OSHA, extreme heat exposure is the leading cause of death among weather-related hazards, prompting more than 65,000 emergency room visits annually. In 2014, 18 workers died from heat stroke or other heat-related causes.
NIOSH recommends several measures to help workers stay safe in hot conditions:
- Limit exposure time and/or increase recovery time in cool conditions.
- Provide an adequate supply of cool water and encourage frequent consumption.
- Increase the number of workers per task.
- Provide workers and supervisors with heat stress training.