GRAYSON CO., TX-With temperatures expected to top the hundreds through the rest of the week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration spread the word about a little known app that can help keep outdoor workers out of the ER.
An OSHA representative told us, nationwide, an average of 30 workers die outside in the heat every year. That's why they developed the OSHA Heat Safety Tool app to prevent those deaths.
Organic farmer, Richard Steele works outside five days a week, during the hottest time of the day.
"It's extremely hard on someone to be out in the heat especially folks that are diabetic. I'm diabetic and I struggle with it everyday, but it's what I have to do to protect my family," he said.
He said with the 100-degree heat this week, not only did it take a toll on his crops, but also on himself.
"It takes its toll on me by draining the fluids out of my body so I have to drink lots of water," he said.
TMC Emergency Room Director, Dr. Bill Entriken said they've treated about ten people a week for heat illness this summer.
"We got quite a bit this year. They come in because they're either working of playing outside and think they've had enough fluids and they don't and become overheated," he said.
"OSHA was seeing that there's a lot of fatalities, a lot of people going to hospitals while working outside."
OSHA's Jack Rector said this is why they developed the OSHA Heat Safety Tool.
"If you're working outdoors and you're concerned about your employees and yourself, you need to get the app and put it in your phone and you can pull it up anytime and it'll tell you what the heat index is out there and it'll give you the idea of what you can do to protect yourself," he said.
The app lets workers calculate the heat index based on their location and also displays the risk levels. It also shows which precautions you must take depending on the risk.
"It's a very useful app, especially at this time of the year. You know you can enter the temperature and it can project out in the beginning of the day to help us plan out our day."
TxDOT's Assistant Area Engineer, Noel Paramanatham, said using this app will help them know what to expect working outside.
"We have to take care of those issues. So we have to modify our work schedules so that we start early and get most of the work done in the cooler parts of the day," he said.
"I like it, especially with the heat index and the humidity, and all that, it shows you a lot of things really well," said Steele.
OSHA's Heat Safety Tool is free and it's available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.