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New app may protect workers from heat stroke

A new app created by OSHA and NIOSH aims to keep workers in Louisiana safe during times of hot and humid weather. The app works by accessing local temperature and humidity information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using the phone's geolocation abilities. It will provide a risk assessment as well as provide heat index forecasts throughout the day. This information can be used to alter work plans if heat or humidity will be an issue.

The app can be used by both managers and employees to help keep workers safe. When there is a high or extreme risk as determined by the app, workers should be given access to shade and plenty of water. According to OSHA, 18 people died from heat-related illnesses in 2014. That was in addition to more than 2,600 workers who incurred heat-related illnesses as a result of workplace conditions.

The heat may also make it harder for workers to do their jobs properly. This is because palms may get sweaty or glasses may fog up with so much moisture in the air. Workers may also have a hard time thinking properly when they are overheated. When conditions warrant, employers are urged to use fewer workers for a given task and use a buddy system to ensure that workers are properly monitored for signs of possible heat stroke.

People who incur a heat-related illness while working in hot weather may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These can include the payment or reimbursement of medical expenses. An attorney can often help with the preparation of the required claim documents.

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