Says The Heritage Foundation: “Wonder if it’s too hot to go outside at your workplace? Don’t bother checking the thermometer or stepping outside—the federal government has the answer for you. And it’s only costing taxpayers $643,997.60.”


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.


The Heritage Foundation calls this the “latest example of Americans’ hard-earned money being spent on a high-tech way to tell the weather. (And it’s not doing it very well, either—iTunes users who ranked the app give it just 1.5 out of 5 stars.)