Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DOL Protecting Workers Health

OSHA has released their first free smart phone app to enable workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites to prevent heat-related illnesses. The app is designed for devices using an android platform but will shortly be available to BlackBerry and iPhone users.

The app is available in English and Spanish and combines heat index data from NOAA with the user’s location to determine necessary protective measures. Based on the risk level of the heat index, the app provides users with information on the precautions that they should take. Users can review the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat related illness and then learn about first aid steps to take in an emergency.

A new web-based tool “Using the Heat Index: Employer Guidance” is available at

OSHA is providing resources to help workers prevent noise-related hearing loss which has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupation health concerns in the U.S for more than 25 years. Approximately 30 million people in the U.S. are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise and thousands of workers each year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. A new web page provides information on the health effects of hazardous noise exposure and how to prevent hearing loss is at

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed its “STOP STICKS” campaign to raise awareness about the risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from needle sticks and other sharp-related injuries in the workplace. CDC estimates that about 385,000 sharp object related injuries occur annually among healthcare workers in hospitals.

OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics page on how to make changes needed to reduce sharp object and needle injures is available at their “Blood Borne Pathogens and Needle Stick Prevention web site at