The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Obama admin makes Smartphone app to tell outdoors workers when it’s hot outside

President Barack Obama’s Department of Labor launched a new Smartphone app last week that tells outdoor workers when it’s hot and humid outside.

The DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new “Heat Safety Tool,” designed for outdoor workers who are already outside, tells workers the temperature and humidity level of where they’re at. From that data, the app calculates the “heat index” and “risk level” for workers in the given location.

Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government, the group that first criticized OSHA’s new “Heat Safety Tool” as a waste of taxpayer money, says the app doesn’t provide workers with any useful information that isn’t already common knowledge. Manning said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is using taxpayer money to state the obvious to outdoor workers: it’s hot in the summer.

“Next thing we know, Solis’s Labor Department will come out with an app that tells swimmers that water is wet,” Manning said. “This is absurd. What a waste.”

The “Heat Safety Tool” app provides a color-coded “risk level” scale, ranging from yellow or “lower” risk to red or “very high to extreme” risk. When the risk-level is “lower” the app recommends workers “drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty.” When it’s “very high to extreme,” the app says workers should “establish a water drinking schedule” of about four cups per hour and “set up cool, shaded rest areas.”

The app also tells users how to recognize heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash.

ALG’s Nathan Mehrens told The Daily Caller that the Obama administration’s Labor department has a history of developing questionable Smartphone apps, and ones that provide factually incorrect data. Mehrens points to an app the Wage and Hour division released a few months ago that incorrectly calculated workers’ hours and pay. “We know for a fact that the other app had some technical issues with it and it could potentially short workers time and things they were entitled to,” Mehrens said. “As far as I know, that app has not been fixed.”

It’s unclear how much taxpayer money the DOL spent developing this app. Spokespeople for OSHA have not responded to TheDC’s requests for comment or details on the cost. (RELATED: Labor Department awards millions of dollars in college grants for scarce ‘green jobs’)

Mehrens said if the DOL made the app in-house, it would be “extremely difficult” to find out how much taxpayer cash it spent on it. If it contracted the app development to the private sector, Mehrens said that information would be attainable via a Freedom of Information Act request.

OSHA spokespeople contacted by TheDC have not answered whether or not the DOL developed the app in-house or contracted the development to the private sector.

  • Terry

    .. This is aimed at people who are already outside working. What a Waste of Time and Money. If you are outside, you know what the weather is like. You can feel it. You can look in the distance and see it coming or moving away (clouds).  Hot and sticky? Gosh, that must mean its hot and humid! Hot and sweaty? That means its just plain hot.

    Oh! but wait! even if I wanted to use this app, which I do not, but if I did, I would have to go buy a smartphone… Hmm.. My current phone is not a smart phone, but I can sure enough check the weather on it in case I wanted to see what the predicted temp is before I went outside. of course, I could also open my browser and look at the bottom of it, or type current weather into google… or check the tv, or the laptop, or hey, even just stick my arm out the window and look at the sky.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7G3BFY47CICK7HTSSHNSAQPFIE Ed from Missouri

    Will it work for his family in Kenya too?

  • Anonymous

    Just proves there’s so many govt. workers, they have to come up with hairbrained ideas just to make themselves useful.

  • Anonymous

    OMG what have we come to! This is a  ridiculous waste of money…our money!

  • Daninlc

    I wonder how many work-hours and millions of dollars was paid by the taxpayer for this idiotic development?!  I can just see the wonderful Apps coming out of this WH now:  When not to stick your hand in fire; How to empty a bucket of water; When should you close the windows during a rainstorm; etc.

  • http://twitter.com/GetReal500 Barbara Stone

    I think you are missing the point.  If you work outside and can have access to the numbers (temperature, humidity. etc.) you can better judge whether to do something to prevent heat stroke.Heat stroke can come upon an unsuspecting person who is working and is very hot but doesn’t want to complain. 

    • Rwdodgerblue

      So, you’re not smart enough to tell when it’s too hot???

  • http://twitter.com/GetReal500 Barbara Stone

    I think you are missing the point.  If you work outside and can gave access to the numbers (temp., humidity, etc.) you can better judge whether to do something to prevent heat stroke.  Heat stroke
    can come upon an unsuspecting person who is working and is very hot but doesn’t
    t want to complain. 

  • http://twitter.com/GetReal500 Barbara Stone

    I think you are missing the point.  If you work outside and can gave access to the numbers (temp., humidity, etc.) you can better judge whether to do something to prevent heat stroke.  Heat stroke
    can come upon an unsuspecting person who is working and is very hot but doesn’t
    t want to complain.