Corpus Christie, Texas. On Tuesday, Wayne Pierce closed the door of his tow truck and turned on the air conditioner at full blast.
It was a hot day, Pierce said he was sweating profusely and trying to stay cool.
Pierce works as a rescue driver for the Apollo Tow, and on a hot day, he says the key to staying cool is being quick.
“When we work, we try to load the car in at least ten minutes,” Pearce said.
Some of his equipment, such as the platform of the truck, can become very hot, so he must be careful when connecting the vehicle.
Wayne’s manager, Justin Watson, uses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool app.
“Basically, it will have a meter that goes from the least dangerous to the most dangerous temperatures,” Watson said, explaining the app.
The app reads the heat index at its location, which corresponds to the temperature outside.
He tells him when his employees are too hot to work outside. It also lists the symptoms of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Watson uses the app to know when his employees need to take breaks.
“Anything that needs more time, we always look at this application and make sure everything is in order, we are in the danger zone. We are going to change our procedures. Instead of every 30 minutes, we’re going to cut it down to every 15 minutes,” Watson said.
When the application informs him that it is very hot, he will send additional rescuers to the scene if he knows that employees will be outside for a long time. They have enough workers to change them for breaks if necessary.
OSHA Assistant Regional Administrator for Cooperative and Government Programs Kandra Jefferson said they receive the most complaints during the summer from employees working too long in the heat.
While employees are not required to use the app and cannot tell the employer about the app itself, people using the app can use their Web site or call them to file a complaint.
In some cases, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee who refuses to work in the heat.
“We evaluate complaints on a case-by-case basis, and when the complaint is found to be valid, we will investigate,” Jefferson said.