As organizations worldwide start to shift back to the normal, employers face the task of implementing health and safety norms in their workplaces. Companies will have to adopt new health and safety rules from thoroughly sanitizing offices to ensuring employees are properly screened regularly.
Employers' objective is to check employees for any possible symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, as they return to work. By taking precautionary measures, employers can ensure that their workplace is disease-free and minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Workplace Temperature Checks for Employees
Temperature screening is one method that can help employers to check their employees for coronavirus symptoms. High body temperature and fever are symptoms of the coronavirus disease, and employers can use employee temperature checks to measure the same.
However, all people with COVID-19 do not have a fever or unusually high body temperature. Similarly, people suffering from fever may not necessarily be COVID-19 positive. Therefore, it should be understood that temperature checks are not a perfect way of measuring coronavirus symptoms.
Still, temperature checks can be useful in the sense that they can notify employers on which employees are ill and need to be sent home for proper care.
Combined with other precautionary measures such as proper sanitization and social distancing, temperature screening can help employers keep their workplace disease-free.
Things to Consider When Conducting Employee Temperature Checks
If you are an employer who wants to ensure your employees' safety and health after they return to work, conducting regular temperature screening can be of great help. Temperature checks can help you assess employee health and protect employees from catching the coronavirus disease.
However, there are certain things that you must consider if you conduct temperature checks at the workplace. Let's have a look at them.
Is it legal?
Taking an employee's body temperature is considered a medical examination. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits medical examinations unless they are related to the job and are necessary for business.
However, after being given recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance wherein employers are allowed to conduct employee temperature checks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
What is the cost?
The cost of temperature screening varies according to the needs of different companies. Pricing varies depending on numerous factors such as equipment used, personnel hired, and so on.
For instance, using store-bought infrared forehead thermometers can be much cheaper than hiring health professionals to conduct temperature checks.
Where and when should the screening be conducted?
It would be best if you also considered the place and time of temperature checks at your workplace. Usually, temperatures are taken at a private indoor space, but it can also be done in an open area or while employees are in their cars. Also, it is ideal to have temperature checks taken in the morning before employees start working.
You can also provide private screens or booths where employees can get their temperatures screened. Doing so can ensure the confidentiality and privacy of employees.
Wherever you choose to conduct your screening, make sure that your employees maintain social distancing norms such as keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between themselves while they wait in line.
Who should conduct the screening?
One of the critical things to consider when conducting temperature screening is deciding who will do the screening. You have the option of selecting an employee from your organization to do the screening or hiring a medical professional to do the same. The latter option can be expensive, and availability might also be a problem in times of such high demand.
In the case that an employee conducts the screening in your workplace, provide proper protective equipment (gloves, face masks, etc.) and training to ensure appropriate safety and health of the individual.
Confidentiality and Privacy
You must ensure that the results of the temperature checks are kept private and confidential at all times. Also, instruct the person who conducts the screening not to share the results with anyone other than authorized personnel. Ensure your employees that their privacy will be protected at all times.
You should use the least invasive method possible to conduct the temperature checks. Also, do not announce any employee's name if he or she has a high temperature in front of the other employees.
Tips to ensure successful temperature screening at the workplace
As mentioned above, temperature checks can be of great help in assessing the health of your employees once they return to work. With the right things taken care of, successful temperature screening procedures can help prevent disease spread in your workplace and keep your employees healthy.
To help you ensure that your employees comply with the temperature checks you conduct, here are some useful tips -
- Inform your employees beforehand about the temperature checks and how they can help create a safer workplace. Also, educate your employees regarding the related implications.
- Ensure that proper social distancing and safety measures are followed at all times during the temperature screening. Require employees to wear face masks and appropriate protective equipment as well.
- Assure your employees that their privacy is protected at all times.
- Inform your employees that they will be considered to be working while waiting for and being tested for their temperature.
Employee health and safety have become top concerns for organizations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Health and safety protocols like employee temperature checks are essential as companies reopen and get back to normalcy. Such protocols can benefit employers by preventing the spread of disease and fostering a healthy work environment.