OSHA spends taxpayer money to develop app that tells workers it’s hot outside

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has released a smartphone and mobile app to warn workers if it is too hot outside.

According to OSHA’s website, the “Heat Safety Tool” — available for Android, Blackberry and iPhone — “allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their work site and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers.” The app also outlines protective measures that workers can take to mitigate the risks of overexposure to heat.

A recent Freedom of Information Act request by the free-market oriented Americans for Limited Government revealed that the Labor Department contracts for the development of the “Heat Safety Tool” and related Web 2.0 technologies cost the taxpayer $643,997.60. The contracts were awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus package.

“It is obscene that Obama’s Labor Department wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a mobile application to alert workers that it is hot, presumably something they would know based upon their being outside,” Rick Manning, director of communication for Americans for Limited Government, told The Daily Caller.

A FOIA request made in September 2011 by the blog found that the app was developed by Massachusetts company Eastern Research Group. The “Heat Safety Tool” cost taxpayers $200,000 to develop.

“This is just one more example of how Obama and friends abuse the public treasury,” Manning added.

One review in the iTunes store said,”This is no doubt the worst app I’ve ever come across in the app store.”

“It’s a heat index calculator (which it doesn’t explain) and maybe would qualify as a middle school programming assignment,” the reviewer wrote. “You basically type in a temperature (needs to be above 80F) and it tells you if it is hot outside (spoiler alert: It is). Seriously?”

OSHA did not return TheDC’s request for comment.

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