If you're a government worker working outdoors and you need to know the heat index, there's an app for that. That's right, with a simple click, an application will tell a worker at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration it's hot outside.
The Department of Labor has come up with a new app that allows OSHA workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite. And based on that heat index, the "Heat Safety Tool" app provides a color-coded "risk level" scale, ranging from yellow which indicates "lower" risk to red which indicates "very high to extreme" risk.
But the problem is the workers have to be in the area they're trying to measure, which means they're already outside -- and therefore already know it's hot.
Nathan Mehrens, General Counsel of Americans for Limited Government, has criticized the "safety" application as a waste of taxpayer money. "I think it's just silly," Mehrens said. "It provides a solution that is self evident. You don't need a smart phone to tell you it's hot."
But the DOL is touting the application as a safety measure saying it provides reminders of things workers should be doing protect themselves from heat-related illnesses like drinking enough fluids, taking breaks every once in awhile and knowing what to do in the event of a heat-related emergency.
Mehrens says these are all things you really don't need an app to tell you. "It's a matter of common sense."
It's unclear how much taxpayer money the DOL spent developing this app but Americans for Limited Government expects to submit a Freedom of Information Act request in the near future to find out.