Hot Weather App Promotes Worker Safety

With hot weather coming, a mobile app created by the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA) of the US Dept. of Labor may prove very useful.  It calculates the Heat Index on jobsites.  It's available for iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and Android platforms currently, with Blackberry yet to come).

It's a pretty simple, straightforward app that lets you input temperature and humidity - or download those values automatically - and calculates the heat index, providing precautions that should be taken on the jobsite to protect the safety of workers.  The app is free, and can be found easily by searching the App Store for "OSHA."  On your computer, you can view the iPhone version  or the Android version.

This is the main screen of the iPhone version.
The Android version has a different arrangement of the
buttons, but they perform the same functions. 

If your sales force has contact with contractors, it might be good business relations to tip off them contractors about the existence of this app.  (Be forewarned, though, this app got some bad press around Nov. 2011, so it might also start some heated conversations.  See below.)  If your manufacturing operations include outdoor work, it might be useful at your factory or yard as well.

I tested this app (iPhone 3GS running the latest version of iOS) and it worked for me exactly the way it's supposed to.

There are a number of comments about the app on the iPhone App Store and elsewhere online that criticize it, some of them on a very political basis.  The ones that claim it doesn't work or that some functions don't work are, as far as I can tell, inaccurate with reference to the iPhone.  Many comments online that appeared last Autumn appear to have referred to functionality problems on the Android version.  Those may or may not have been fixed by now.

The high development cost reported, learned through a Freedom of Information Act request, is an issue I won't touch here.

What I find most interesting about the app is the option for inputting the heat and humidity figures manually.  It suggests that OSHA expects many contractors to have thermometers and humidity gauges working on the jobsite.  That would be especially on a jobsite where online info may not be available or where the local weather may not be accurately reported online.  Let's hope OSHA is correct about that.