Temperature Screening in the Workplace – The New Normal

The first half of 2020 has been a confusing and difficult time for businesses and employees. The worldwide covid-19 pandemic saw many companies across the world forced to close for many weeks. In the UK, the government recently decreed that as the virus appears to be under control, those who could go back to work should do so. The gradual reopening of offices, factories and retail outlets across the country is underway.

Things are far from being ‘back to normal’. Indeed, many commentators have observed that the situation we are enduring may in fact result in an ongoing ‘new normal’ as while the virus is controlled, it is still around and there is no available vaccine. This has led to businesses having to consider the safety of their workforce in terms of the coronavirus, and how they can operate efficiently going forward.

Screening for signs of the virus in the workplace is something we will begin to see more widely from now on. One of the best methods, and a non-invasive one, is to use a temperature screening device to check for symptoms of fever – a high temperature being a symptom of possible covid-19 infection. These devices are available in many different forms and body heat detection may become a staple of all offices, shops and commercial or industrial premises in the near future.

Thermal Imaging

How Do Temperature Screening Devices Work?

The most popular models are thermal fever scanner devices that are hand held. These are now seen in places where heavy footfall is experienced such as airports, shopping centres and hotels, across the world. They are simple to use and are considered a first line defence against the coronavirus. It’s worth understanding that they do not indicate that the subject has the virus; what they do is enable checking body temperature of the person involved.

Naturally, any staff or team member with an elevated temperature could simply have a cold or there may be other physiological reasons for the raised temperature. However, in current circumstances, it is vital that anyone showing symptoms is kept apart from the rest of the workforce, and is directed to the right place for further, more detailed tests. This is the reason that temperature screening devices are used in the first instance; they allow employers to err on the safe side all the time.

A hand held thermal scanner will display the results in colour on a screen built into the device. The colours indicate the temperature, which is also displayed in figures in the temperature scale chosen by the user. The accuracy of these devices is surprisingly high – between +/- 0.5°C – and as they are simply held over the persons skin, they give results instantly. This allows for the testing of many people in a short time – ideally as or before they enter the building.

How Long Will Temperature Screening Devices Be Used?

When we talked earlier about a ‘new normal’ we were referring to a potential permanent change in the way we approach certain areas of our lives. The covid-19 virus pandemic has opened the eyes of the entire world to the fact we are very vulnerable to new, rapidly mutating strains of virus such as this, and that the first line of defence is certainly that of testing and detection. It may be a long time before there is a viable vaccine for this particular virus – or there may never be one that works efficiently – hence the need to keep checking people for symptoms is here for the foreseeable future.

Is this a bad thing? In many ways it is a positive development. The remarkable situation we have found ourselves in during the first half of 2020 has reminded us just how important personal hygiene is in everyday life. The simple washing of hands can help keep a virus – not just the coronavirus – at bay, and we are all much more vigilant in using hand sanitisers and so on. Even a team member coming to work with the common cold can spread it among others, and this can lead to more absence from work than employers can cope with.

Along with the regular cleaning of surfaces and door handles – and other items that many different people touch regularly – and the emphasis on washing hands often, temperature screening is set to become the norm, at least for now, in many walks of life. If you need devices for your business, check them out now and take advantage of the help and advice available to choose the right one for your circumstances.